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Guest Post & #Giveaway: The Family that Finds Us by Phoenix Blackwood



#PhoenixBlackwood @GoddessFishPromotions


#PhoenixBlackwood @goddessfishpromotions


#PhoenixBlackwood @GoddessFish

Phee hides her secrets well, until they become too much to bear. Her biggest secret is one she's kept even from herself. Her longest-kept secret is one that hurts her every day. Her final secret is one that will set her free.


In a school that doesn’t accept them, Phee, Theo, and Alex fight for a community close to their hearts. The community desperately needs the trio to help the rest of them leave the shadows without fear of violence and discrimination. Through some heroic activism, the three push the school officials to their limits — forcing them to act — for better or worse.


For Phee, the fight for a place where she can be herself doesn’t stop when she gets home. The strain of taking care of her alcoholic and abusive mother threatens to break Phee away from her family bond forever. Her mother can go from a messy drunk to an angry one in an instant, turning Phee's home life from an obligation to a war zone.


Theo’s house offers respite to Phee. With compassion scarce in her life, Alex and Theo are Phee’s light in the dark. They protect and cherish her. At Theo’s, Phee is free to be herself and explore her identity safely — her chosen family ready to catch her if she falls. That's what family does, how family finds us when we feel lost and alone.



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“No!” I screamed, flailing against her as she pinned me down with one arm and cut with the other, lock after lock of black hair falling to the ground and into the sink.

 

Tears came next, as I fought the futile fight to get her to stop. I shrieked, begging for her to stop, but she just kept going, until there was nothing left. Just jagged tufts of hair sticking straight up from my scalp. She let go of me, throwing the scissors back into the drawer and slamming it shut without a word. She looked at me with the most haunting gaze I’d ever seen out of her, shook her head, and then walked into her room, slamming her door behind her. My knees grew weak, and I fell to the ground, clutching the discarded chunks of my hair that lay strewn about the floor. My wails could’ve been heard a block away. I’d found two things I liked about myself last night, and now one of them was gone.

 

Eventually, I dragged myself into my room, picking up my phone and texting Theo through my tears to come get me. Not even ten minutes later, there was a knock at the apartment door. I was still crying as I opened it to watch Theo’s face morph in horror as they caught sight of me.

 

“Oh my god, Phee, what did she do?”

 

I shook my head, staring down at the floor as tears fell from my face. Theo wrapped their arms around me, and I choked out, “She was sober.”

 

Theo rubbed my back for a minute, then guided me towards my room, “C’mon, get your stuff. You’re gonna stay at my house.” I grabbed the discarded makeup from my floor and stuffed it into a duffel bag, along with a couple changes of clothes. Then, I grabbed my backpack and solemnly followed Theo out the door, locking it behind me.

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What inspired me to write my book? Short answer: trauma. But here’s the longer story.

I created these characters when I was around 12. That’s when my mental health really started to decline, and that’s when a lot of really difficult things happened in my life. So I began to write. Drawing was my main focus, but sometimes I’d get these snippets and pieces of things that just needed to be written down. These characters became my friends, especially Theo. Phee was there pretty much at the beginning, but she wasn’t trans and I never thought she would be until a lot later. Then again, Theo wasn’t either. I discovered a lot of my queer identity through these characters.

Enacting things with them was safe – no one knew about it, no one could judge me for it, they’d never see it. These characters could be as out and proud as they wanted, and I wouldn’t be hurt by it. Theo’s transition happened around the same time I started to realize I wasn’t a girl. I had them by my side, and it was like having a companion that understood all of my struggles right there with me, all the time.

I’ll admit it, Theo’s book, The Secrets that Kill Us, is very trauma dump-ey. But I feel like it shows a lot of growth as well. It shows how much mental health struggles can take hold of someone, how they can rule your life, and make it seem like there’s no way out. Alex’s book, The Love that Binds Us, tackles issues of unspoken family violence and body autonomy as well as struggles with identity.

But we’re talking about Phee’s book – The Family that Finds Us. The trauma that Phee experiences is very similar to my own, and learning to handle these difficulties is a huge inspiration for her character. Her struggle with her queer identity, her tumultuous relationship with her mother, the hatred she experiences at her school, all of these things ring true of myself. Another similarity she shares with me: she has Theo, right by her side. Although they have their own struggles, they still understand Phee’s, and they’re there for each other. Theo loves everyone they hold close fiercely, and it’s a love Phee’s never had anywhere else.

This book is really all about relationships. Relationships with our friends, with our family, and with ourselves. I’m completely about found family – those are the people you never let go of. The people you take care of and the people who take care of you. It doesn’t matter if they’re blood, the important part is that they love you and they show it with their actions. The love of a found family can be so much greater than you could ever imagine, and it’s those people who drive you to be your best.


Born and raised in New England, Phoenix has always been a creative – whether it’s painting or writing. From a very young age, Phoenix has envisioned and created characters, writing them into existence and exploring them through visual arts. Having graduated to first-time short story author, Phoenix is embarking on a journey towards novel writing as they finally bring characters they’ve known for years into the world. Phoenix is neurodiverse and intersex and hopes to bring more representation to both topics with their writing. They believe in creating relatable characters that people can find themselves in and empathize with.


Tour hosted by: Goddess Fish Promotions


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Guest
Apr 13

This sounds like a fantastic read!

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Guest
Apr 12

Sounds like a good book.

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Thank you so much for hosting today!

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