It’s said that time is the great healer, but love can be every bit as powerful when it comes to mending the soul. This is certainly the case for one of the heroes in this poignant coming of age tale by Mia Kerick. Written with real tenderness, and featuring a protagonist whose voice grabbed my attention from the opening sentences, this is one of those novels that made me feel all warm and tingly inside. It left me with the belief that, no matter how damaged or embittered a person may be, there is always hope, the chance that things will get better.
I’m so glad I picked up this novel. Every bit as gritty and complex as the back cover promised, Made of Stars takes place during one fateful winter, and unravels the tangled emotions that bind a brother and sister to the broken boy they love. Kelley York explores a whole host of issues in this story—friendship, sexuality, domestic abuse—and all in a style that is as understated as it is poignant.
This was my first foray into the novels of Amy Lane, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. There’s something so warm and authentic about her writing, and her protagonist’s larger-than-life personality leapt out at me from the opening sentence, so that I was instantly there inside his head, sharing his thoughts and emotions. In Behind the Curtain, Amy pulled me into the story from the outset, taking me on a sweetly sensual journey of love and friendship, refusing to let me go until the final page.
Based on the award-winning Little Boy Lost series by J.P. Barnaby and adapted for a young adult audience, Choices tells the ill-fated love story of two high school seniors. Yet, this is far more than a romance novel. That isn’t to say the central relationship is secondary or trivial. Rather, the author touches upon so many issues besides the love between the heroes, from bullying and homophobia, to religion and family, resulting in a book that is both complex and thought-provoking.
J.H. Trumble isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects, as anyone familiar with her work will know, and this latest novel is no exception. We’ve all made mistakes, done or said things we wish we could go back and change. More often than not, we’re given the chance to learn from our mistakes and move on, but for one of the heroes in Just Between Us, it isn’t so simple. A few months of recklessness ends up jeopardizing everything he values—his college education, the boy he loves, even his life.
We’re all familiar by now with the traditional nerd/jock romance, where the shy nerd falls for the handsome jock, and, despite the rift in their social status, succeeds in winning his heart. It’s a much-loved format, and one I admit to having rather a soft spot for. Yet, in this sweetly sensual novella written for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Love Has No Boundaries event, Madison Parker has flipped this formula on its head in a way I found to be both original and incredibly refreshing.
Romantic relationships between teachers and their students is always going to be a sensitive issue, and one which I’m sure many readers will find controversial. Teachers have a duty of care to protect the pupils in their charge, and a clear line marks the boundary of what is considered acceptable behavior. Yet, can it ever be appropriate, or even forgivable, for a teacher to cross that line? In her follow-up to the highly acclaimed Don’t Let Me Go, J.H. Trumble confronts this question head on, displaying not only tremendous courage, but a heartfelt understanding when it comes to the powerful and often unpredictable nature of love.
So often young people feel compelled to be someone they’re not. Putting aside their individuality, they wear the latest designer gear, listen to the “in” bands of the moment, and hide their deepest desires and insecurities, all in the quest to be popular, to fit in. For the protagonist in this entertaining and immensely moving debut by Huston Piner, the choice is taken out of his hands when a classmate decides to turn his knack for attracting trouble to his advantage and make him a star.
This is without doubt one of the most original novels I’ve come across in a while. It’s a story about a mysterious planet that drifts into our solar system to play havoc with time itself, and one boy’s struggle to cope when he is plunged into a world of multiple realities. Admittedly, readers have their hands full with regard to remembering the details of each reality—who the hero’s friends are, whether his parents are together or divorcing etc… Yet, the author’s way of beginning each chapter with either “Danny’s dead” or “Shira’s dead” not only helped me keep track of the plot, but was a strategy I found incredibly powerful.
Readers were given a taste of John Goode’s incredible and somewhat quirky imagination in Distant Rumblings, the first in his Lords of Arcadia series. Book 1 saw Hawk, heir to the Arcadian throne, exiled to Earth to escape looming civil war, and becoming emotionally involved with a human boy. It’s in the sequel, however, that Goode really allows his creativity to roam free. Here he combines traditional folklore and fairy tales with creatures and lands of his own invention, ending up with something that is wholly original.