First love - coming of age - family - acceptance
When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he's known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now - finally - the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.
Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie's science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.
But things are changing.
Families are important, and complex. Charlie's mum hasn't been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.
Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?
WARNING: includes moderately explicit scenes of intimacy between consenting young adult males.
"Once a boy shows you the stars, they're a hard act to follow."
Despite it's rather unusual title "Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace" is one of the most incredibly sweet and unusual books I have enjoyed in quite some time. And by enjoyed I mean had my heart melted into a puddle of 'I love these boys' goo. Charlie Woods and Anthony Pace are not your typical romantic MCs but they will win your heart with their quirky ways.
Charlie likes science and Anthony writes poetry. You'd think that this would make them so different, almost opposites. One finds his passion in the practicality of science while the other sees the world through the passion of words and yet they understand each other so perfectly.
"Yes, Miss. It makes me write poems and see stars right up in the sky where no-one lives but the atoms. Science is numbers and nature, and if you write it all down, it can turn into poems and art."
They've been friends throughout most of their lives. Yet in spite of all their years of friendship and how much they mean to each other Charlie has secrets that telling even Anthony seems to be more than he can bare. Secrets that he needs to keep in order to keep his mom at home with him. Charlie's mom doesn't remember things so well and sometimes she wanders and forgets things and seems to live in the past, but Charlie loves her and deep in his heart he knows that she loves him too. In spite of her forgetfulness and lapses in memory, she's his rock...
"Well, you'd better go, then. That college needs you, don't forget that. Charlie Woods, this world needs you."
My heart melted as Charlie and Anthony discovered that what they had was more than friendship...it was love and that first tentative kiss was so incredibly sweet. I loved that Anthony was always there for Charlie and I loved, loved Anthony's family. Never a question or a doubt that they were there for Charlie every bit as much as Anthony was.
'Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace' is a story that will appeal to the geek and misfit that lives somewhere in all of us and I highly recommend it for anyone who just wants to remember that there is a place in this world for everyone or who has forgotten about that part of their soul, the part that never quite feels like it fits in or sees the world the same as everyone else because it's that part of us that helps to define us and remind us that we are all special and unique and the world needs more Charlie Woods and Anthony Paces.
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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are. (Mason Cooley)
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