Book review: Maxine Wore Black, by Nora Olsen

Olsen Maxine Wore BlackOlsen, Nora. Maxine Wore Black. Bold Strokes Books. 2014. $11.95. 264p. PB. 9781626392083.

Jayla may finally have found the perfect girlfriend. Maxine is not only smart and beautiful but also accepts Jayla for who she is. If only Maxine weren’t already dating Becky. When Becky is murdered, however, Jayla must untangle the clues while keeping herself alive.

This book has lots going on: it’s a romance; it’s a thriller; and most of all, it’s a reworking of Daphne du Maurier’s classic thriller Rebecca. The character’s names are similar, and even the opening lines mirror each other. Fans of du Maurier’s work will enjoy the parallels. Those who have yet to read Rebecca may be confused because following another book’s plot means that Maxine has to take some unusual twists. Especially notable are Olsen’s efforts to describe the difficulties trans* individuals face on a daily basis, from gender markers on IDs to choosing which bathroom to use in public. Fans of mysteries will find this an easy book to pick up. Maxine is recommended for public libraries.

Jenni Frencham, Librarian

Cesar Chavez Middle School, Hayward (CA)

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