High school can be some of the best years of life - and some of the toughest. Mark Mitchell's strategy for surviving is to emulate the mighty turtle: pull back inside his protective shell and keep a low profile to avoid trouble. And it works - nobody bothers him. Of course, nobody really knows him, either, even in a town so small it seems like everybody must know everyone else.
Mark certainly knows Bill Cromwell, whom he meets officially when his father volunteers him for manual labor at the school. Bill is his polar opposite: outgoing, gregarious, athletic. But when a massive snowstorm traps the two boys together for three days, Mark learns that being popular doesn't mean you can't be bullied or abused - or gay. And that bullying doesn't stop at the school doors.
Mark isn't naive. He's seen the news reports of gay teen suicides, and he's determined not to become a statistic. But it's not himself he's worried about.
©2012 Robbie Michaels (P)2014 Harmony Ink Press
Reading and listen to books for me is one of the keys to a happy life.
This theme is very common among gay romance novels. The nerd who is attracted to the absolute good looking jock, with no hope of anything ever happening. Most of the time this theme takes the road of the jock failing a class and needing tutoring by the nerd. It is surely one of my all time favorite themes. This actually took a side road to that basic theme. They ended up getting together from a snow storm, this is also a known ploy to get these two together. But this story went into family abuse and alcohol and gambling addictions and then into intervention of said family. Then even more, some of it was a little creative beyond anything I have read before.
I liked both characters, but there was just something missing with them that I still can't put my finger on. It was almost like this book, which is I believe aimed at young adults, was a text book to explore and bring about a very positive attitude towards gay youth and the issues they face. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but maybe it was written by a committee. I mean both guys are basically too good and don't go through more acting out than I would expected if all the things that happened to them really did. It is a very positive story...and I guess I expected a little more acting out etc. Surely I believe it could be read by a straight youth and they would learn acceptance, tolerance for people who are different, family dynamic with addictions like alcohol and gambling. Adults getting together and having an intervention to stop the abuse associated with these types of addictions. And of course the importance of an education, especially reading and going to college.
Great read. Never a problem with him and of course like any good narrator he brought a great deal of my enjoyment of the book.
Well at first yes. Like I said I just love this type of theme. As I sit here and think about it surely it represents some of my own issues when I was going to high school. Except I am an fairly old man and I didn't come out until very late in life due to religious beliefs and the general social pressures in our culture. So I of course was very interested in the cute jocks through out school, even while I was in elementary school, but I would have found myself beaten up or killed if anyone had suspected of my interest in boys. I surely feel it is all very sad that us gays are treated in such a horrible and negative way. So I guess they give me some comfort to see that even fictional characters get some hope and friendship while still so young.
I am always happy to see and be able to buy books of a gay slant, no matter what the subject is. It surely gives me some hope for the future for the younger gay men that are having to deal with their orientation. The internet has helped a great deal with that I believe. The people who hate us really never know or understand the damaged they have inflicted on the very innocent. I find this world and its ability to hate others very disturbing.
Some of the conclusion seemed a little bland. Like the author wanted everything to end "happily ever after" and didn't know how to do it within the realms of probability. That aside...it was a very beautifully written and executed story.
I was a little leery about getting this book, because I thought the title was very cheesy. I am really glad that I took the chance. I loved the story! Mark and Bill were very believable characters. I became emotionally invested in their relationship. There was a few lulls in the story, but most if it was a complete page turner.
The characters were very well defined. I felt like I knew these characters.
When a snow storm ends up marooning athletic Bill Cromwell, the "most popular boy in school," at the home of (and in the bed of) Mark Mitchell, a gay boy who's made an art of being invisible, a sweet and unlikely relationship is born.
That's the beginning of this book's scenario and it is charming and an intriguing bit of wish fulfillment. The story is told in the first person with Mark as the narrator and voice actor Michael Stellman is a great choice whose voice fits the main character well. The narrator has an odd mix of world weary, angsty teen ennui that Michael Stellman embodies well.
However the book is flawed in a few ways. While it's clear that the POV is that of a high school senior, the sometimes fussy prose sounds too old for the kid narrator. And hearing that youthful voice describing another high-schooler as a "man" so many times felt inorganic somehow.
Also my "willing suspension of disbelief" is challenged again and again. The domestic abuse intervention described in the plot was unlike anything I've ever heard of. The over-earnest anti-hate assembly segment seemed to morph into a wish fulfillment fantasy/fever-dream more typical of a queer-nation refugee than the author that penned the first part of the story.
When the "fever-dream" ends and the story goes on to other topics, it becomes more engrossing again, however I did also have trouble believing that a guy who suffers that level of domestic abuse is popular at school. This kinda thing does damage to the psyche.
Part way through the book I started to become certain that Robbie Williams was a mother & part time author rather than the man that I first envisioned when I read the name.
Mom led the domestic abuse intervention
Mom led the protest that got Bill reinstated in school after a somewhat preachy anti-hate school assembly
Mom planned the boys' cross country campus visit/trip to UCLA
Another credibility issue... Why doesn't Mom object to her teen son sharing a bed with another boy? Finally, discovering the contents of the steamer trunk made restoring credibility impossible for me. This tale became a complete wish fulfillment fantasy tale.
Only at the very end does the meaning of book's title become clear... and I'm not sure that it was apositive addition to the book as a whole. Though I've still not decided who the author is its clear... the author is clearly a "book lover."
Overall I enjoyed this book and I'll probably even listen to it again but I can't help but feel that the makings of an even better book were here but unrealized.
One last audio-book note: In this book I encountered what has to be my first audio-book equivalent of a typo... the narrator used the word Sutterfuge. I'm assuming that Subterfuge was intended but it was clearly not what was said. A minor point, but for me, a memorable one.
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