Sunday, January 22, 2017

ARC Review: The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin

From The Blurb:
This is not your average love story. 
Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down. 
Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it. 
Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.

Karen's rating: not your average love story...

I had my reservations on this one because the first line in the blurb said 'This is not your average love story.' and of course my response to that was...but is it? It it really even a love story? So I read on and I became intrigued, curious and ultimately of course reading the book became inevitable. I needed to find out for myself...was this a love story and yes, we're going with my definition of 'love story' vs 'romance' because hey, it's my review.

I knew from the blurb that I wasn't getting your average couple. Stan is gender fluid and while he did indicate in the story that he essentially identified himself as 'male' it was also clearly and beautifully evident that he acknowledged and even embraced the side of himself that so obviously identified as 'female'. Stan is gender fluid and wonderfully so. While Stan'd life has for so many reasons not been easy neither has he wallowed in pity over the hand he's been dealt. Stan has for all intents and purposes made the most of the opportunities that have come his way and turned himself into a fashion blogging success. His looks are stunning and he could easily rule the catwalks of Europe, but Stan's no fool either, he sees the pitfalls that the fashion industry holds and especially for someone who's already dealt with anorexia so he's quite happy with his life in fashion behind the scenes.

His personal life though that's another story. He's never known anyone who loved all of him...
who could see the girl...
                                  and like her...
and touch the boy...
                            and like him too...
                                                   until he walked into a bar and met Ben.
Ben's a tattooed, badass, wanna-be rocker. Who gets on look at Stan and he's a goner. He just doesn't know it...yet.

As much as I wanted to give the story 5 stars, in the end, I settled for 4 because for a fair chunk of this book I had a disconnect...not from Stan or Ben but from the actual story itself. There were moments when for want of a better word I was 'bored' I'd put the book down and wander off to do other things but then I'd pick it back up and start reading and wonder 'why the hell I'd ever put it down? and after a while I'd put it down again and wonder I'm really not sure if it was me or the book.  Maybe it was just my mindset at the time and if this had only happened once or twice I probably would have attributed it to that but it took me 3 days to get through a book that I easily should have read in considerably less time so I'm sticking with the 4 stars and I'm also unrepentantly happy that I stuck with the book...because in the end it was a beautiful story that I'm glad I read.

'The Impossible Boy' wasn't a story about tow people falling in love...well, ok it sort of was but the story also told so much more. Loving someone is just the beginning, it's the making it work and how you fit into each other's lives and how and when you make the compromises and how and when you can't or don't. There was so much depth to this story, so much more than a typical romance or even those rare love stories that make me sight so contentedly at the end because I'm left feeling like what I read was real and tangible and enduring.

For me the biggest difference...the only real difference between a romance and a love story is how the story makes me, as a reader, feel so you it's a very personal thing...subjective, if you will. There's no right or wrong or good or bad here. Just a simple matter of opinion and in this case 'The Impossible Boy' felt like a love story. A well told love story of two people surrounded by a cast of wonderful characters. 

There were so many beautiful moments in this story. Moments that spoke to the heart of how much Stand and Ben cared for each other without ever using the words 'I love you'. But the one that stayed with me was Ben's and ironically it did involve the word 'love', but it was the totality of what he said that brought home, to me, the depth of his feelings for Stan...
"There is no 'what if,'" Ben said, throwing his hands up in exasperation. "I love you. That has to be enough to make you want those things, Stan. I can't give you any more than that. I love you. Please. If you love me too, the only thing I want you to promise me is to never take the man I love away from me. Never take the man who made my life complete away. I would never be able to forgive you if you did that."
'The impossible Boy' is more than just a story about falling in love. It's about finding love, making it work, fitting it into your the good times and the bad, it's about fighting for it and believing in it.  It's about the kind of love that gives meaning and not just the big moments but the little ones as well and it left me feeling like what I read was real, tangible and enduring.


An ARC of 'The Impossible Boy' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.,13783609

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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

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