Posts tagged Contemporary
“NOAH came by last night after you left, you know, Kai. He sort of snuck in wearing a black hoodie, with the hood up, naturally, loitered around in the back by the men’s room, leaned up against the wall like he was too cool to drink coffee, and watched the crowd for a while, and then he skulked out, without even ordering a lousy cup of anything.”
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.
As a musician at the popular college café Coed Joe’s, high school senior Kai Manter is never lacking for male attention. Out, proud, free-spirited, and sexually aware, Kai sets his sights on his darkly Gothic and undeniably bad-tempered co-worker, Jamie Arlotta, a freshman at the local arts university. Sporting long hair and alluring hippie style, Kai expects his interest will be reciprocated, with satisfying sex as the end goal. That’s what usually happens. But Jamie’s lessons in life have been harsher. Having been sexually abused by his older stepbrother for several years, Jamie has grown an impenetrable outer shell meant to keep the world at a safe distance.
At six o’clock, the indoor pool in the relatively new gym complex had no aqua aerobics, no recreational swimmers, and, often, nobody but Dawson, doing laps in that happy, mind-numbing splashy echo of one person in a swimming pool. He’d been on the swim team in high school and had won a handful of bronze medals, but nobody had ever accused him of being a superstar. That didn’t stop his love of what swimming did for his body.
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.
Dawson Barnes recognizes his world is very small and very charmed. Running his community college theater like a petty god, he and his best friend, Benji know they’ll succeed as stage techs after graduation. His father adores him, Benji would die for him, and Dawson never doubted the safety net of his family, even when life hit him below the belt.
My name is Brian Patrick McAllister, and I am going to hell.
“In Romans 1:24-28, we find that God calls these people and these acts that they perform unnatural—an abomination against him. It says, ‘Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen’,” the preacher cried, slamming his beefy hand onto the straining wood of the pulpit. In response there was a resounding chorus of “Amen!” throughout the small congregation. I looked around and found that they were all, Jamie’s mother included, enthralled by this charismatic, white-haired Baptist preacher. Even though they were fanning themselves or wiping their brows in the sweltering heat of the late southern Alabama morning, their attention never wavered.
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.
As the country’s religious and secular leaders battle over equality in the abstract, Brian McAllister and Jamie Mayfield live in the crossfire. In their little town of Crayford, Alabama, loving another boy is the worst kind of sin. Best friends since childhood, they explore their love and each other in Jamie’s backyard tree house as they hide from the world. They happily plan for the future together—until their lives are rocked when their secret is exposed and Jamie’s family intervenes.
It’s so exciting to be writing (and reading) LGBTQ young adult literature right now. For so long, YA books with gay content were not only few and far between, they were extremely didactic and disavowing, often presenting homosexuality as an issue that had to be dealt with and frequently punished.