Taking Chances by John Goode

TakingChancesLGTitle:  Taking Chances

Series:  Tales of Foster High, #4

Author:  John Goode

Genre:   Young Adult

Length:  Novel (200 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (August 7th, 2013)

Heat Level:  No Sex

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥3.5-4 Hearts

Blurb:   Fearing the backlash of living as a gay man in Foster, Texas, Matt Wallace runs away to California, only to find it isn’t the Promised Land he’d hoped for. Christmas sees Matt returning to Foster, where he bumps into his old flame, high school jock Tyler Parker. 

Now that they’re older, it doesn’t take Matt too long to figure out that love at first sight is a very real thing. The only problem is neither Matt nor Tyler seems to know what to do after that. They’re both running from the past—and each other—requiring some reverse engineering to actually spur the relationship past the false start.

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4099

Reviewer:   Any

Review:  A sweet story about two lonely guys that are searching for happiness.

I started this story in the morning before work and then was frustrated I had to wait the whole working day before I could get my mitts on it again and read, read, read. I haven’t read any of the other books (save one short story) in the Tales from Foster High series, so I’m reviewing this as a stand-alone—, and it is enjoyable without having prior knowledge of the ‘Foster’ world.

Things that worked for me:

  • The Forward & Postscript – I liked the discussion of hope and love and thought it added a nice touch to the story. It gave the whole story a more . . . polished, professional feel to it.
  • The ‘About the Author’ page at the end was creative and clever, and I had a very good chuckle while reading it.
  • The writing itself is good and the author really gets into the characters heads, so we get their thoughts, responses and emotions. This was particularly well done in the first chapters with Matt.
  • The flashbacks of the boy behind the red door really drew me in to the story and set up the romantic tension.
  •  I really enjoyed how stylistic the author was with the narrative. Some chapters are told from the perspective of other characters in the book, and it fit, because it emphasized the need Matt and Tyler had for space. At that point, they were both so upset, they just couldn’t go on. Very clever writing device.

Thing that didn’t work for me:

The biggest issue for me was that the pacing of the story felt off.

It has a great initial lead in, but as soon as Matt and Tyler meet at Christmas, the splendid pacing hits a snag as the two guys fall for each other immediately without much conflict. The insta-love at this point just didn’t flow well for me. I can understand that both the men are lonely, and maybe that would make them quick to jump into something, but as a reader, I love to have the emotional/and or physical connection drawn out a bit more.

As well as the two getting together too quickly, they suddenly fall apart after a week, and the reasons didn’t feel very mature (especially for characters that are in their thirties). The guys seemed super sensitive, and I never really got what Tyler did that was so wrong that he had to put up with so much crap from Matt and his awful fag-hag toward the end of the book. So he freaked out? Good, I say. It shows some human emotion—this needed to be worked through and not run away from.

I guess from the moment the main characters kiss, the books speeds toward an end with so much happening too quickly. But, to be fair, the blurb does tell the reader what to expect.

It feels like maybe I’m placing a lot of emphasis on what didn’t work for me in this story, but I guess I feel passionate about it because the writing was awesome, and I was/am greedy and just wanted more.

I enjoyed the read and am certainly interested in the other stories set in Foster. Definitely an author to try again!!!