Title: By the Creek
Author: Geoff Laughton
Narrator: Paul Morey
Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult
Length: 5 hours and 29 minutes
Publisher: Harmony Ink, Dreamspinner Press (06-18-2014)
Heat Level: Mild (age appropriate for teens and young adults)
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: Soon-to-be high school junior David Harper hates his family’s move to the country. There’s nothing to do, and he misses his friends in the city. But he doesn’t have a choice. His mother’s job is in Mason County now, so David and his mom are too, and he has to make the best of it.
At first, the only redeeming feature of David’s new home is the swimming hole across the field from his house. Then David meets Benjamin Killinger, and suddenly life stops being so dull.
Benjamin is Amish, and cooling off in the swimming hole is one of the few liberties he and his brothers enjoy. A friendship with an English boy is not—but that doesn’t stop him and David from getting to know each other, as long as it’s on the neutral ground by the creek.
After David risks his life to save Benjamin’s father, the boys’ friendship is tolerated, then accepted. But before long, Benjamin’s feelings for David grow beyond the platonic. Benjamin’s family and the rest of the community will never allow a love like that, and a secret this big can’t stay secret forever…
Product Link: http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/By-the-Creek-Audiobook/B00L2I2U8Y
Review: Original book review from January 2013…
When I first took this book for review I asked the author to tell me about the story. He said he wanted to write a YA novel with a gay storyline because there really aren’t any available. I have to agree with him, at least not where the entire story is based on the two young men. This isn’t a sexy steamy M/M novel, this is a well written YA novel about young love, that love just happens to be between two young men.
David and Benjamin happen upon each other one afternoon at the swimming hole that lies between their properties. David has recently moved into his ancient country home with his mom, and Benjamin is a member of the Amish family that lives in a homestead across the road from David. The pair move at a steady pace starting with a friendship that is forbidden at first, and then accepted due to David’s actions, moving into something kind of like love. It’s not an instant overnight love, and it’s not a slow burn, it’s pleasantly steady and happens exactly when it’s supposed to.
Benjamin is wildly curious about the outside world and David is more than happy to fill him in. The swimming hole becomes their sanctuary where innocent conversations lead to looks of longing and ultimately, that first kiss. It’s during one of these afternoon frollicks when the boys are locked in a passionate embrace that Ben’s father finds them. David is inconsolable as his mom and two best friends rally at his side. Will Ben come back to him, or will he ultimately choose to stay with his family.
Laughton has a way of conveying emotions from pen to paper that is really unique in books today. I was seriously drawn into David and Benjamin’s reality, I grew with them, I fell in love with them, and I cried with them… it was fabulous!
I was reminded of one of my favorite movies while reading this book, Latter Days. There is a line in By the Creek where Ben questions if the love that he and David share is a sin, David quickly tells him that to be loved and love someone could never be a sin. At the end of Latter Days Jacqueline Bissets character has one of the best lines in any movie ever “So, your church forbids drinking and homosexuality. Well, forgive me for not joining. I can’t imagine Heaven without both of them.” That line is so perfectly, David and Ben!
Highly recommended! Well written. Characters have depth and realism. Overall an emotionally fabulous read!!
Updated audio review…
David is all but forced away from his home, job and friends due to his mom’s relocation for her job. Miserable to say the lease, and slightly bored with isolation, he ventures to the creek that lies between his home and the local property of the local Amish community. It’s here that he meets Benjamin, an Amish teenager that knows nothing other than the life he has been taught to lead. Through his friendship and mutual attraction to David, Ben starts to question the life he is meant to lead. The two teenagers build an unbreakable bound and love that will last a lifetime, by the creek.
The perfect marriage of narration and writing, Morey gives Laughton’s words a voice, he truly brings David and Ben to life. I love when I can listen to a story that I’ve already read, and find something new within the story or the characters that I missed in black and white. While I was so drawn to this story because of the passion and pain that was written into the relationship, hearing David’s pain at possibly loosing Ben at that point in the story just took it to an entirely new place for me.
These two young men were the very definition of endearing, the story just utterly engaging and now with the addition of Paul Morey’s voice to give the words new meaning, one word… Flawless! This is a YA story, but I believe it is written and conveyed in such a way that fans of all ages will fall in love with David and Ben and their journey.
Definitely a must read AND a must listen!
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *