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Fiction General


A Novel

by (author) Catherine Hernandez

HarperCollins Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
General, Dystopian, Literary
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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A NOW Magazine Best Book of the Year
A CBC Books Best Canadian Fiction of the Year
A Maclean's 20 Books You Need to Read This Winter

The author of the acclaimed novel Scarborough weaves an unforgettable and timely dystopian account of a near-future when a queer Black performer and his allies join forces against an oppressive regime that is rounding up those deemed “Other” in concentration camps.

In a terrifyingly familiar near-future, with massive floods that lead to rampant homelessness and devastation, a government-sanctioned regime called the Boots seizes the opportunity to force communities of colour, the disabled and the LGBTQ2S into labour camps in the city of Toronto.

In the shadows, a new hero emerges. After his livelihood and the love of his life are taken away, Kay joins the resistance alongside Bahadur, a transmasculine refugee, and Firuzeh, a headstrong social worker. Guiding them in the use of weapons and close-quarters combat is Beck, a rogue army officer who helps them plan an uprising at a major internationally televised event.

With her signature prose, described by Booklist as “raw yet beautiful, disturbing yet hopeful,” Catherine Hernandez creates a vision of the future that is all the more terrifying because it is very possible. A cautionary tale filled with fierce and vibrant characters, Crosshairs explores the universal desire to thrive, to love and to be loved as your true self.

About the author

Catherine Hernandez (she/her) is an award-winning author and screenwriter. She is a proud queer woman who is of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese and Indian descent and married into the Navajo Nation. Her first novel, Scarborough, won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript; was a finalist for the Toronto Book Awards, the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award, the Edmund White Award, and the Trillium Book Award; and was longlisted for Canada Reads. She has written the critically acclaimed plays Singkil, The Femme Playlist and Eating with Lola and the children’s books M Is For Mustache: A Pride ABC Book and I Promise. She recently wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Scarborough, which is currently in post-production by Compy Films with support from Telefilm Canada and Reel Asian Film Festival. She is the creator of Audible Original’s audio sketch comedy series Imminent Disaster. Her second novel, Crosshairs, published simultaneously in Canada and the US and the UK this spring, made the CBC's Best Canadian Fiction, NOW Magazine's 10 Best Books, Indigo Best Book, Audible Best Audiobooks and NBC 20 Best LGBTQ Books list of 2020. Her third children's book, Where Do Your Feelings Live? which is a guide for kids living through these scary times, has been commissioned by HarperCollins Canada and will be published in winter 2022. 

Catherine Hernandez's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Crosshairs made me shiver. It troubled my dreams. Still, I could not put down this dystopia. It was utterly compelling. Catherine Hernandez prophesies Canadian genocide against queer, Black, brown and Indigenous folks. At the same time, she inspires the reader with her depiction of a resistance full of characters who—even in the face of hatred and complacency—show love, pride, endurance, courage and who insist on living to the very last breath.” — Lawrence Hill, bestselling author of The Illegal and The Book of Negroes

Crosshairs is a blistering page-turner. One can describe it as dystopic fiction, but Catherine Hernandez is presenting us with something much more prescient to consider. The novel acts as a provocation and a challenge for readers to locate themselves. Crosshairs offers a glance into a world that is possible if we continue on a trajectory that is frightfully present. Most importantly, Crosshairs asks us what we will do to resist and build a better future when faced with such momentous and dangerous times.” — Carrianne Leung, award-winning author of That Time I Loved You

“A beautiful, unapologetic, and unwatered-down burst of fury against cis white supremacy and tyrannical power systems, centered around a main cast that must be fiercely protected. Hernandez writes the best kind of dystopian story, one that holds a sobering mirror up to our own world. Let this book haunt you.” — Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend Series

“In Crosshairs, Catherine Hernandez shapes a world at once fantastical and familiar, remarkable and relatable. . . .The result is a sparkling but devastating novel about corporate and state cruelty, individual as well as community sacrifice, and queer Black and Brown kinship that must be protected at all costs. Timely, unapologetic, complicated.” — Jenny Heijun Wills, award-winning author of Older Sister, Not Necessarily Related

"Crosshairs is both unnervingly prescient and undeniably profound. A harrowing work that's as much a battle cry as a ballad for the erased, and we should all be listening." — V.E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of A Darker Shade of Magic

Scarborough is raw yet beautiful, disturbing yet hopeful ... it also gives voice to people whose stories are often unheard, making this an important book that deserves a wide audience.” — Booklist

"Hernandez's novel brings Toronto, as it is known by its Queer Black, Brown and Indigenous residents, to life. A rare and wonderful and formidable feat." — Toronto Star

"Using the best tricks of storytelling, Hernandez gives us the whole world — its past, its present, and what we hope will be its future."
Hamilton Review of Books

"Hernandez’s voice and writing style lay vivid on the page, and her craft is evident from the jump. . . .Hernandez is a talent undeniable. She’s an evocative, vibrant writer whose voice and point of view are an exciting addition to the literary landscape." — USA Today

"Hernandez’s prose style is gorgeously poetic. . . .Kay is a brilliantly nuanced, fully formed character, both tender and brave, so identifying with him is easy." — BookPage

  • Finalist for the City of Toronto Book Awards 2017
  • Finalist for the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award 2018
  • Finalist for the Half the World Global Literary Award 2017
  • Finalist for the Trillium Award
  • Finalist, Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading Evergreen Award 2018
  • Longlisted for Canada Reads 2018
  • A Globe & Mail, National Post, and Quill & Quire Best Book of the Year
  • A Top Ten Audible Book 2017
  • A CBC Books Writer to Watch 2017
  • Queen's Reads Selection 2018


“Rooted from within the worldview and place it portrays, Scarborough is an intimate portrait of a community with all its nuances and desires deftly captured ... Brick by brick, life by life, Scarborough delivers an orchestral impact, one small, beautiful voice at a time.” — Jury Citation, Toronto Book Awards

“In her dexterous debut, Catherine Hernandez powerfully centres the margins by interlacing narratives that spotlight the beauty that thrives beyond the big city." — Vivek Shraya, author of I’m Afraid of Men

Scarborough marks the arrival of a fierce new voice in Canadian fiction. Hernandez has rendered one of the most vibrant portraits of contemporary suburbia I've yet encountered.” — Jordan Tannahill, author of Liminal

"Hernandez delivers beautiful and heartbreaking scenes in a story that is hard especially because of how close it feels to our present." — Booklist

“Hernandez goes deeper than most writers dare when it comes to the complexities of racial and cultural violences, unafraid to unpack the explicit and implicit prejudices that inform her characters' behaviours, white and racialized alike ... This is a crucial book for Toronto, and a shining example for writers concerned with the cultural tensions of the now." — Broken Pencil

"[Scarborough] is a town coloured by its people, brutal when it’s rough, comfortably home when it feels like it or when it doesn’t. And this is a story on the reckoning of privilege and the acceptance of difference." — The National Post

“An engrossing read ... Hernandez sets us running down that subway corridor, anxious for what comes around the next corner. Heartbreak, to be sure. But also unexpected joys and big lessons. Highly recommended.” — Out in Print

“[Scarborough is] a celebration of community, a sensitive and compassionate portrayal of how lives are irrevocably changed, moment by moment, through small acts of kindness or cruelty. It’s a novel that deserves to be read widely.” — Hamilton Review of Books

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