From the blurb:
Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder.
Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1991—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends, preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.
Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn't do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter's swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices? And will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, open a new path?
Join Peter in the first of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.
Holy sh*t, this book made me raaaage. I was like a complete and total psycho reading this story, oscillating between smiling, crying and screaming, and scaring the crap out of my husband while going through an insane range of emotions.
There are some things you NEED to know before starting this book. Just a warning, some might view some of these details as *spoilery,* but, honestly, you can get most of this information from the blurb:
1) There is no HEA in book 1. None. Nada. In fact, there is nothing but relationship uncertainty at the end of this story. I'm not even sure who the MC is going to end up with.
2) There is cheating. A LOT OF CHEATING. This part of the book made me so ragey that I wanted to pound my Kindle into a pulp at times. It was BRUTAL. It made me feel so icky inside, and actually pretty depressed.
3) These is some violence. Not a lot, but it's there.
In short, this book will destroy you.
It actually reminds me a great deal of Something Like Summer, but much better. I was one of the few people who didn't enjoy Something Like Summer, but if you liked that kind of storyline and vibe, this book will appeal to you. It also has a historical-ish setting in common (the 90s with this one), and it brought me similar levels of pain.
I enjoyed the 90s setting more than I expected to. I grew up in the 90s, being a mid-80s baby, so the high school antidotes hit home for me. It also wasn't as much of a homophobic time as other historical eras, so from that perspective it was easier to stomach.
What got me through this story was the absolutely stellar writing. It was magnetic, and even when I wanted to stop reading, I found that I couldn't tear my gaze away. I wanted to scream and rage, but I also wanted to FINISH THE DAMN BOOK. I raced through all 300+ pages, finishing the book in less than a day.
While part of me hated this book for how it tortured me and reminded me of every crappy, duplicitous, horrible teenage dating experience, I also loved it for the level of emotion that it brought out of me. I've thought about it since I finished, and I know I won't be happy until the end of book 4 when I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
*Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
Buy this book:
Catch ya later!