Thank you to author Chelsea Lauren for providing me with a copy of Theodore’s Work in Progress in exchange for this honest review.
I previously read and reviewed author Chelsea Lauren’s book Underneath the Whisky, a fantastic novel about a gay man finally accepting his sexuality and his intense journey of self discovery. Lauren has once again delivered a LGBTQ inclusive novel that stands out from the crowd.
Theodore’s Work in Progress starts with Theo filling every minute of every day trying to change the world. His parents were gunned down by police officers during a peaceful protest one year earlier. Since then he has been running their non-profit organization, protesting, fundraising, and following their killers’ trial all while trying to finish high school and maintain a relationship with his boyfriend.
Clearly, he is stretched thin. When the jury makes a ruling on his parent’s case he finally collapses from the weight of a year’s worth of stress. He wakes up to find himself somewhere unlike anything he’s ever seen being greeted by a handsome young man he’s never met.
He has been drafted into an organization from the future that has fled Earth due to the consequences of climate change. He is told that it is his responsibility (among others) to train with them and return to his timeline to try and make things better. This is all set up like a standard chosen one hero’s journey.
However, Theo is not a Jesus or a Neo character. He’s a 17 year old with a ton of PTSD and anxiety. Theodore’s Work in Progress is about Theo not being able to just jump right into saving the world. He has to heal himself before he can heal others.
He does not accept his role quickly. He is not a narcissist who automatically understands why he would be hand picked to be a hero. In his time on this new world he sees a therapist (reluctantly), meets new people (reluctantly), starts to accept that he needs help, and falls in love.
Our hero is able to admit that he cannot do everything alone and that everyone has their own roles that may not be similar to his. There is a lot of healing and growing that must be done before any change can be made.
The cutest change is that Theo has a brief romance with a boy much more compatible with him that his boyfriend down on Earth. No hard feelings toward Earth boyfriend but the new couple is just way too sweet. My heart melts for them.
Theodore’s Work in Progress has elements of science fiction, romance, adventure, social commentary, and coming of age novels all combined into a very entertaining and thought provoking book. Lauren’s writing is engaging and her characters are fleshed out with lots of room to grow and develop through the pages.
I strongly recommend discovering this author for yourself. I hope to read a lot more from her in the future.
5/5 distant worlds 🪐🪐🪐🪐🪐
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For another sci fi LGBTQ book check out One Million Tiny Fires