Cluster is about Abra Collins, a young woman who journeys through life. Her father is abusive and she learns the heartache of death early. Her sister Gwen, and best friend Neal, supports her through transitioning (she is transgender). She meets a professor at college who becomes a dear friend. She is able to open her dream business, named Cluster.
I loved this store! It’s something I would want to run; part coffee shop and music venue, part seller of memorabilia and nostalgic toys and figurines. The setting reminds me a bit of Empire Records or one of those coming of age stories where people hang out and play video games, listen to music, and discuss random fun topics.
Plus, Abra runs it with her best friends. Despite the trauma Abra has lived through, she lives a pretty happy life, until a harsh lesson begins to unfold. The one that dictates people move on and change, and evolution as a human will happen, whether you want it to or not.
Some life lessons pull Abra along, kicking and screaming (and often are overlooked in denial until they explode). The book is about acceptance, friendship, making your own family, letting go, and many other themes, including feminism, and LGBTQ+ issues.
I really liked Calli, Abra’s on and off manic girlfriend. I liked how their relationship evolved and they stuck together even through tough times (which include mental illness).
I got involved with all the characters and felt the author did a great job with emotionally writing the cast. Gwen, Olivia, and Calli were my favorites. Abra goes through a LOT. It was pretty realistic with a HEA that is flawed (realistically imperfect) and yearning, yet fulfilling.
This was a great debut by an indie author, and I quite enjoyed it. If you are looking for a book that highlights the LGBTQ+ community and features a transgender (she/her) protagonist (or might not be, but want to understand more), you should really read this! Great rep.
I found out about this author through the awesome writing community on Twitter. You can purchase Cluster here. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.