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Sometimes it’s not about coming out, it’s about settling in.
Eighteen-year-old Bradley Collins came out a year ago and hasn’t looked back since. Who cares if he doesn’t know any other gay people? Bradley has friends and basketball—that’s all he needs. Even if that means always sitting on the sidelines when the guys go out looking for girls.
When cute film-boy TJ tries to flirt with Bradley while his friends are doing their thing, he freaks. Yeah, he’s gay, but he’s never had the opportunity to go out with a boy before. He’s never had to worry about how his friends will react to seeing him with a guy.
Bradley accompanies TJ on a road trip to film TJ’s senior project documentary. In each city they visit, they meet with people from different walks of life, and Bradley learns there’s a whole lot more to being honest about himself than just coming out. He still has to figure out who he really is, and learn to be okay with what he discovers.
I was thrilled to find out Nyrae Dawn was releasing a YA MM book! Oh the potential!
Ummm…oh the struggle?
I have to admit, maybe I oversold this one in my head. Maybe I set the bar too high. Maybe I sabotaged it from the get go. But, I just could NOT get into it for most the book. I would say, for at least the first 50% of the story, I was…bored.
Bradley, cool kid, basketball player with a posse, is out to his family and friends…but not really to himself. He struggles with the fact that he’s gay and what that implies for his life. How inconvenient! He meets TJ at the local cool-kids hangout and they start to flirt a bit. TJ is an aspiring young filmmaker, confident, out-and-proud and he fancies Bradley. Enough to put up with a LOT of BS from this kid.
Now, this pairing SHOULD work for me. I eat this stuff up. But I just couldn’t get into their connection. I wasn’t buying it. I didn’t know why TJ would put up with Bradley’s uncertainties that often manifested itself in cruel ways.
When the two of them go on a road trip to make TJ’s documentary about being gay in America, I hoped it would pick up. What ended up happening, though some of the stories they encountered powerful, was that I felt like I was being preached to. I felt like each story featured in their film was carefully chosen by the author to teach the reader a lesson…and ultimately, I was feeling this book would work really well as a fictionallized textbook for a class on gay America.
It didn’t work for me as a source of entertianment and romance.
Now…ALL that being said, when I thought all was lost and I was really struggling to get through, the author picks up the pace a bit and finally, something happens that makes me start to BELIEVE in this coupling and their attraction. I started to FEEL something for the two of them and wanting them together. It took awhile to get there, but by the end, there were tears and there was hope.
So…I’m conflicted. Would I recommend this to other readers? Ummm…maybe? I think some of the issues were me-not-you and your milage may vary. Ultimately, the book was okay…I guess.