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TANDEM REVIEW: “Fearless” by Chris O’Guinn


At fifteen, Justin is already a cynic. He’s experienced too many betrayals, too many disappointments. He doesn’t want to be involved in anything. He doesn’t want to be popular. He doesn’t even want friends anymore, since they only ever let you down. He just wants to get through high school and the best way he can come up with to accomplish that goal is to simply be invisible.

His self-imposed exile from high school life is threatened when Liam, the scary stoner, reaches out to him. What starts out as a strange and unsettling encounter with the unnerving, pot-smoking teenager evolves into the sort of friendship that changes the course of a person’s life.

But as Liam drags the reluctant Justin out of his shell, Liam’s own secret is revealed.

Fearless is the story of the myriad shades of love, how to find one’s courage and the transformative power of friendship.


We both had this book on our radars…and maybe were just a little hesitant because of the FEELZ…the sadness we’d heard about.  So, embracing each other as buddies to read along, we put on our big-girl panties and dove in.

Fearless was written from Justin’s POV and it worked. He’s this shy, vulnerable, self-deprecating kid who’s uncomfortable in his own skin. He’s aware of his attraction to guys, but he’s not about to out himself or rock the boat. He’d rather be invisible than get his ass kicked for being gay.  Justin is great at one thing, though. He loves swimming, and being in the water is where he soars. In swim class he meets Liam.  Liam is, on the surface, a stoner…bad news, hangs out with the wrong crowd.  And there you have what seems like the typical opposites attract YA storyline…but it’s so much more.

You see, Liam isn’t what he seems.  And we both kinda figured out (guessed) early on what Liam’s secret was.  And as much as we both had hoped we were wrong…well…

What’s great about Fearless is that Justin, Liam, really ALL the kids, acted and talked like real teens (where a lot of other YA books miss the mark). And with each new character introduced came added complexity…how does this person fit into the puzzle?  Is this one “good” or “bad”, “gay” or “straight”, “friend” or “foe” or “more”?

As the book progressed, so did Justin’s growth.  His character shifted from an invisible non-entity, to a confident leader and friend. So much of this was due to Liam, their friendship, Liam’s courage and easy-going nature.  We both *loved* what Liam did for Justin–giving Justin the confidence to speak his mind, to stand up for himself. It was the both the tragedy and the gift of the story.

As our greatest fear for this book started to play itself out, as we braced ourselves for the emotion of what would happen…it felt like the book suddenly hit fast-forward and things came together a little too quickly.  And that was unfortunate.  It felt like the author was in a rush to tidy everything up and get to the end.  Every time there was a problem, the solution was right behind.  If it had taken time, slowed down to play things out, it would have been that much more effective.

All-in-all, it was a good book, and definitely recommended—IF you’ve got a strong heart and like YA. ;-)  Get your tissues ready…



18039977Title:  Fearless
Author:  Chris O’Guinn
Publisher:  LIghtbane
Pages:  191
Release Date:  June 3, 2013
Purchase Links:  Amazon

One comment on “TANDEM REVIEW: “Fearless” by Chris O’Guinn

  1. katinka
    February 25, 2014

    Tissues and YA, not for me then. Even though the cover cracks me up every time I look at it.:D


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This entry was posted on February 24, 2014 by in Reviewer: Jenni, Reviewer: Susan, Sports / Athletes, YA / NA and tagged , , .

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