Author: Jere’ M. Fishback
Genre: Historical / Edgy Young Adult
Length: Novel (167 pages)
Publisher: Prizm Books (August 14th 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb:Fifteen-year-old Tyler Buckspan lives with his mom and grandmother in 1960s Cassadaga, a Florida community where spiritual “mediums” ply their trade. The mediums–Tyler’s grandmother among them–read palms and tarot cards, conduct séances, and speak with the dead. Tyler’s a loner, a bookish boy with few interests, until his half-brother Devin, nineteen and a convicted arsonist, comes to live in Tyler’s home.
For years, Tyler has ignored his attraction to other boys. But with Devin in the house, Tyler can’t deny his urges any longer. He falls hopelessly in love with his miscreant half-brother, and with the sport of basketball, once Devin teaches Tyler the finer points of the game. In a time when love between men was forbidden, even criminalized, can Tyler find the love he needs from another boy? And is Devin a person to be trusted? Is he truly clairvoyant or simply a con artist playing Tyler and others for fools? What does Devin really know about a local murder? And can Tyler trust his own psychic twinges?
Review: I’m always wary of young adult titles, as they always seem to be filled with anxiety and drama to the point I can’t enjoy them much, but this title is definitely unique in many ways. I loved it, not merely enjoyed it. I started reading and didn’t stop until it ended, and I was so glad to see it end in such a realistic and satisfactory way.
The narration comes from an adult Tyler who is recalling his first steps to adolescence and his first loves that shaped his entire life. Tyler’s first crush with his half-brother who comes so suddenly into his life, the rejection he receives and the way he lives his fantasy by observing Devin’s love with his lover Jesse. His heart breaks when Devin marries a much older than him woman for her money, and Jesse’s resulting suicide. His disappointment when the schemes Devin and his mother cooked up. The terrible loss when Devin is forced away from his life after the chaos that followed Jesse’s suicide. His loneliness when right after Devin he loses his first boyfriend. The seclusion and feelings of dead-end and the birth of a new crush that later turns into his biggest love in the face of Jacob. His newfound ambitions with basketball and the loss of his never achieved dream yet again when Jacob is forced to leave. And finally, the accomplishment of his first dream that allows him to finally move on with his life as an adult.
Many readers might not like this book. They might find certain things such as the fact that Tyler crushes on Devin, his half-brother and finally he manages to satisfy his fantasy. Or his inclination to stealing his brother’s underwear and having quite some jerking sessions with them. Many might find the story to be jumping topics, as Tyler goes through some years during his narration and doesn’t dwell upon things that in a previous chapter were on the spotlight. I on the other hand found this book so realistic that I couldn’t have enough of it. The writing style is enticing, makes you keep on reading and you don’t really understand how good the skill is because you simply are captivated by the story, and such details escape you. I found the lack of angst refreshing though the story didn’t lack edge and suspense. I even felt as if I was reading a thriller at some point, constantly waiting for the gory end or the gut retching trauma to happen. The pace was simply great, not too fast, not slow and dragging, it was the perfect balance that simply kept you going, moving forward, and enjoying every second, every minute of reading. The adolescent stage our protagonist went through reminded me of mine with the differences of our world and time, yet the feelings and emotions were clear and effectively made me go back in time and relate with the character.
As for the fast beating of the heart with the first crushes and intimate moments, this is a young adult title and therefore not explicit in its descriptions, but it did not fail to produce an enormous amount of emotions. I could even picture the scenes that were not told, I could feel those kisses as I read them, I could feel the chemistry and the electricity produced by it on my own skin. I’m repeating myself but the writing while not exquisite, was way too good. So much so, it made me wish the story never ended and most definitely made me notice this author and search for more.
Overall, this book is the best homoerotic young adult title I’ve read ever since I dived into this genre. A strongly recommended one as long as you can discharge the incest issue. I on my part loved every single line.