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For Scotty Riesen, hiding his sexuality in Ma’s Trick, Louisiana hasn’t been easy, given his secret relationship with his next-door neighbor, football star, and fellow closet case, Jean Lafitte. One night he decides that living in the closet is no way to go through life. He comes out, but he isn’t prepared for the backlash from his parents and friends.
Scotty takes a bus to New Orleans to make a new life for himself. Playing janitor and dancing boy at the gay bar Burnt Reflections is a lot better than living on the street, but he can’t forget Jean Lafitte no matter how many men throw themselves at him.
Despite everything, Jean Lafitte may yet prove just how far he’s willing to go to make a relationship with Scotty work. Traveling down to New Orleans to find Scotty is just the start of a courtship that won’t be stopped by anything less than a Louisiana hurricane.
While I always say that I am not a big fan of the Young/New Adult genre – I think I’m not patient enough for adolescent drama that I often associate with the genre – I sometimes like to dip my toe in it too when the mood is right.
Burnt Reflections is a good and moderately low in angst read. The story starts with Scotty getting backlash from his family and friends because he decides to come out of the closet in his small town of Ma’s Trick, Louisiana. He is thrown out by his father and must stay with his grandmother. He also becomes a target for bullies. In addition, his semi-boyfriend, Jean Lafitte, who is also deep in the closet, being the jock that he is, refuses to stand by him. However, Scotty makes his own way out of the town and thankfully meets a Good Samaritan, finds a new job and a new place to live in New Orleans.
The story might tease with some worst-case scenarios for Scotty but it never gets to it. It might be a little fairy-tale like or maybe just a stroke of luck – but Scotty can always find help and support from his new friends. In fact, Jean also decides to come clean, comes to Scotty and declares his deep love. I sometimes get tired of reading down on their luck boys, with harsh realities of life being thrown my way. So I was happy that it never become really bad for Scotty.
I might have thought that Jean needed to do some groveling but at the same time, I found that Jean didn’t exactly have a charmed life after he decided to defend his relationship with Scotty. I guess it made it easy for me to forgive him. He is young after all. Besides Jean becomes quite endearing as he is determined to fix his mistakes. Their relationship is sweet – although it also borders quite sappy for my taste.
The secondary characters are wonderful too – most especially Scotty’s nana and the owners of Burnt Reflections, that kind of become parent-like to Scotty.
Overall, it is a pleasant and effortless read. Oh, and I completely love the book cover! It is sharp, clean, and simple.