Author: Jeff Adams
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: Novel (274 pages)
Publisher: Queerteen Press, September 7, 2013
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts ~ Liked it a lot
Blurb: Simon Roberts’ plan for his senior year is simple — help his high school hockey team win the state championship and earn a college scholarship so he can get away from his dysfunctional family, especially his belligerent father and obnoxious older brother.
When the Central High Falcons open their season with an away game, Simon is forced to deal with the problem he’s struggled with for months — his crush on teammate Alex Miller. After the game that night, Alex makes an unexpected announcement — he’s gay, and in love with Simon.
Simon’s elated but scared to openly acknowledge that he’s gay, especially with so much at stake in their senior year. Now that they are out to each other, they have to decide what to do next. Should they date? Should they keep things between them secret? What about the team? Can Simon and Alex hide that they’re more than friends from the guys they spend so much time with?
Then a simple kiss is witnessed and their secret is out. The team fractures, and Simon’s family explodes as news about the gay hockey players quickly spreads. The guys must figure out how to move forward with everyone watching. Being the center of attention was in no way part of Simon’s plan for the year.
Can Simon juggle school, commitments to the team, his new relationship, and an unexpected tragedy all before the end of the hockey season?
Review: Okay let me start by saying that I’m not a lover of the YA genre. I tend to get squicked out by underage loving. Nevertheless, I read the blurb and thought, hmmm, this looks interesting and I’m always about a coming out story that involves sports. It’s such a closeted group that they are rife to have those boys busting out the closet.
So where do I start. Well the beginning is generally good. The book was a cornucopia of themes and they all blended so well together. By the time I was finished reading the novel, I realized that the author had done the whole ying/yang thing. For every negative he presented, he presented a mirror positive. So in the novel you see a family who embraces their gay son while another does not. You see an example of a bad brother unable to accept his gay sibling and another who not only embraces that sibling but also goes out of his way to do special things for him. You see examples of good friendships and bad friendships, good marriages and bad marriages.
So balance became what was most important in this story – the ability for the main characters, Simon and Alex to find balance in their lives and in their relationships. I hate giving away plot lines or secrets to a book and this novel is chock full of them. Alex and Simon fall into a relationship almost immediately and it takes a while before the first conflict in the book arises with their coming out to friends and family. Once that is overcome, the reader is left wondering well if this is resolved, then what’s left? A bunch I can tell you.
Well the author takes the reader on a quite a journey. There is quite a bit of drama. There is being kicked out of the house, fights, death, destruction, police kidnapping, jail time, divorce and just to add a lighter note, dancing at the spring formal and prom. Alex and Simon spend their senior year moving from being teenagers to becoming young men. They spend that year learning not only who they are, but also what is really important to them. They are placed in a situation where they must grow up very quickly to manage the changing dynamics around them. They must make choices about the men they will become and the couple they choose to be. Their decisions make the people around them, family and friends also have to make decisions about who they will be and how they will treat them – battle lines will be drawn and Alex and Simon must manage and overcome those adversities. Oh and with all that they are spectacular hockey players who manage to snag scholarships to college.
Alex and Simon become role models not only for unknown youth out there as their story is made public, but they become role models for their friends and family as well. They become unlikely heroes in a world often devoid of them. My main aim when reading a book is to determine the writer’s aim and in a YA book, it is often to teach young people some vital lesson. This book does a great job of crafting a great love story that is appropriate for the audience, but also offers what I’m sure as some outstanding commentaries on hockey.
The writing is very appropriate for the audience. All in all, two enthusiastic thumbs up!