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**CRUSH ALERT** (Sara) on character Aaron, book Fever pitch, and author Heidi Cullian – I have a crush on Aaron, and I have a massive crush on the author. I have zero shame in admitting all of that. Fever Pitch is a beautifully crafted story about friendship, family, love, hope and survival blended with the perfect soundtrack to get lost in and carry you away.
Because we have such MASSIVE love for this series, Boys in our Books is sponsoring a GIVEAWAY. Leave a comment on this post and enter to win a copy of book 1 “Love Lessons”, book 2 “Fever Pitch”, and a $30 gift certificate to Spotify. So much of Fever Pitch has to do with MUSIC, and Heidi Cullinan has a playlist just for the book on Spotify! Winner will be selected Friday, October 3, 2014.
Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.
Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.
About a year ago I read a story, Love Lessons, on an emotionally dark day where I wasn’t sure there would be any light in the near future. That day, things were bad but reading those words on the page, made me feel less alone and that there had to something better than what I was going through. Not only did I feel the connection to the characters on a deep level, that story made me do something I rarely do, email the author and pour my soul out at their feet for giving me, yes me, the words that I needed. Little did I know that the email would lead to me being told that Aaron, from this book, would be my spirit animal. Now how in the world do you approach a book, from one of your favorite authors knowing that ahead of time? With both feet and eyes wide open of course.
We have Aaron, our lovely misunderstood and oh so lonely boy who through the help of Giles realizes he is indeed gay and follows the boy who opened up this new world to him to the Collegiate grounds of Saint Timothy. There, Aaron becomes this boy who I can’t get out of my head. I though I connected with Walter in Love Lessons and the things he went through but reading Aaron, it hit very close to home. No, I wasn’t a music major and cannot belt it out like the boy can but the things he thinks; about himself, his life and his future. I can’t see as I write this because there is a curtain of strange liquid falling from my eyes. I love Aaron beyond the beyond, and I felt everything he went through. When he sees Giles at school, I couldn’t handle it.
“… he knew a bone-deep terror he’d chosen his source of secondary education based on sex at a lake with a guy he’d only just met, a guy who might be disgusted to see him again.”
Giles, where do I begin? I could see this tall lanky boy with the faux hawk and the ears. THE EARS! Ugh. I loved being in his head as he navigated the time with Aaron and the times he sees him at college. My heart ached for all the pain, both physical and emotional he had been through and yet I was in awe of strength he possessed.
“You shut too many people off. How do you know you haven’t missed someone amazing right here at home because you decided they were an ass? How do you know you won’t do the exact same thing at Saint Timothy? College isn’t going to be that much different than high school.”
The storytelling with Fever Pitch is amazing. You get the boys as they meet; they connect and then are separated. The separation was anxiety filled for me; I just wanted them together so bad and to see them happy, but it was this separation that built the boy’s character. It was beautiful to see them alone, even breaking down to the point of being so raw there was nowhere to go but higher than they dreamed. Giles, I was in love with him from the beginning, his geeky and lanky self being likened to Dustin Lance Black, how could I not but I loved being inside his head. Let me tell you, I was a sobbing snot fest so many times reading in his POV. His confessions are burned into my romantic heart, and I can’t forget them. Good lord, that boy.
Along with the romance, there is this strong self of family that I clung to. It’s true what they say; family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what. This story weaves this fact through the lines in a gorgeous tapestry.
But back to Aaron, I weep, my soul weeps for this boy. I was happy he found friends in the Ambassadors. OH YEAH! Let me pause for a moment and say I think things happen for a reason. I had this ready to read over a week ago but for some reason, albeit the fear of being torn to shreds, it didn’t start it. This past Friday, I was sick in bed, and while checking to see what was on TV, I decided to watch Pitch Perfect for the first time. Talk about the ultimate set up for this book! Not that it’s needed, but I got it. OMG, I got it.
So back to Aaron, the struggles he deals with, wanting to be in control of his life, of his present and his future and be his true self just wrecked me. Don’t get me wrong, I smiled a lot through this book but the deep emotions just owned my ass. I thought I was a wreck reading the Walter and Kelly dance scene to “Titanium” in Love Lessons; I can’t even listen to a certain Keane song without completely losing it. Granted, I had the Glee version on my phone to listen to and though the song had the affect on me before but now? Forget about it. It’s Aaron’s song, and it’s perfect.
I don’t have to fit in with what people decide for me because I know where I fit in. Everybody has somewhere they fit in. We just have to look hard to find it sometimes.
Speaking of Walter and Kelly, what a joy it was to see them again. I loved (How many times have I said that the word, loved?) the advice that Walter passes to Aaron was amazing, and you see how much he has grown with Kelly. Read the dedication of this book and it’s true; Walter rivals my #1 book boyfriend (I have a badge to prove it) that is Randy Jansen. His growth is even greater than it was in Love Lessons and the gravitational pull this new found family has toward him melted me many times over.
Now I talked about music and the music in this book is important. I am a self-proclaimed music nerd; I love it, I collect it, I devour it and I hold it inside for the moments I need it most. There is a playlist with this book, and I strongly suggest you listen to it, listen to it when the songs are mentioned and go back and read the scene again with the sound as the soundtrack. It’s transitional, as music and reading should be but when paired together, it’s phenomenal.
“Music is powerful, and when you’re fighting a health battle, it can mean the difference some days between the strength to fight or giving in.”
These two. This book. This author. This series! I can’t stop gushing and smiling and crying and just falling in love with it. This book was so full of layers; layers that were dripping with deep emotions that all I could do was tear each one away wrap them around me and marinate in all the words gave me. The words that cut and hit way too close to home but also radiated safety and strength.
Oh! One last thing… When I realized who book three in this series was going to be about, having seen the author tweet about a certain boy whose name is three letters long, my mind was blown. BLOWN and I bow down to this woman. MY GOODNESS!
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.