With just 151 days left until the school year ends, Kyle Stilleno is running out of time to fulfill the promise he made and change Foster, Texas, for the better. But Kyle and his boyfriend, Brad Graymark, have more than just intolerance to deal with. Life, college, love, and sex have a way of distracting them, and they’re realizing Foster is a bigger place than they thought. When someone from their past returns at the worst possible moment, graduation becomes the least of their worries.
Wow. Just... wow. This book took me there and back again. It didn't shy away from a damn thing.
It had been 2 years since I'd read End of Innocence, the last book with Kyle and Brad as the main focal point, but I don't remember that one feeling quite so whiplash'y.
Not that that's in any way a bad thing, but this book had a whole lot of rewinding the time line to re-tell the same sequence of events from another person's perspective, then another, and another. So that took me a little while to get used to.
But in that re-telling, we die hard Foster fans pick up a ton of great insight into the psyches of familiar characters (Jennifer, Robbie, Kelly's mom, Coach Gunn, Jeremy, etc.), which I enjoyed. It also re-categorized a lot of my 'liked them' characters into 'loved them' status.
But for me, this story was mostly about maturing. Not necessarily that of Kyle and Brad as much as the rest of Foster's other residents.
I was completely blown away by many of them. In particular Coach Gunn and Kelly's mom, but especially Brad's (self-admitted asshole) father. It was great to see that even the older generation recognized their need to re-evaluate deeply-engrained, long-held beliefs and prejudices.
And yes, Jeremy's meltdown and lashing out were incredibly hard for me to read, especially knowing that honest-to-God real life kids are experiencing the same things every day. But I'm really glad that the book took us to that dark place.
So many people hear about these things and don't understand that, many times, they happen because the true victims finally snap and decide to fight back. In horrifying, disastrous ways.
Wow, this dark review wasn't what I had in mind at all when I started writing.
But the book had a lot of entertaining parts as well, so to take this to a happier place, here were a few of my favorite humorous parts: