The Other Dress by Emmy Engberts is the second book in her Flowers and Keyboards series about video games, anime, and LGBT+ couples. Elliot works up the nerve to cosplay as an outgoing character named Aoi from Magical Princess Club! At a convention, and he falls for a girl who is cosplaying as Sakura. Izzy is trans, and she enjoys cosplaying as female characters to get more in touch with her true female self. Most people can’t even tell that she is trans now, but she still suffers from dysphoria and uses dressmaking to cope with it. When she meets Elliot at the convention, she is surprised to see how much fun they have together. But she isn’t sure if she can date Elliot or even tell him that she is trans because of the negative reactions she has had from people she has cared about in the past.
At first, before I knew that Izzy was trans, I thought that Elliot was going to come out as being trans because he was so happy to cosplay as a girl. But I found it a way better storyline that Elliot was completely fine with his masculine identity, but he just enjoyed cosplaying as girls from time to time. I have never, and I mean never seen a guy so comfortable with himself in fiction before, and honestly it was really empowering to see. Girls may sometimes dress in typical “guy” clothing in books, but you don’t usually see guys dressing in typical “girl” clothing in books unless they are going to come out as something. Guys can have fun dressing however they want without having to justify themselves just as girls can, and I love Engberts for showing this.
I also liked how Izzy and Elliot were friends before they truly started to fall for one another. Another thing that I really enjoy about Emmy Engberts’ romance novels, there may be somewhat insta-attraction but there is no insta-love “I would literally die for this person” going on. Even though the characters may be high school aged, don’t have that annoying YA couple feel where they don’t really match but fall for each other head over heels. Izzy and Elliot are a perfect match but they still go slowly until they feel comfortable enough around each other to even start dating.
Also, if you liked the characters from the first novel in the Flowers and Keyboards series, they aren’t completely forgotten in this book! I can’t wait to see the next book in this series and meet the new couple.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new YA romance novel to read.
Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books