Series Title and Number: ‘90s Coming of Age, #1
Publisher: Leta Blake Books
Release Date: 9/19/2016
Genre: Gay New Adult, Coming of Age, with Romantic themes
Tags: new adult, coming of age, 1990s,
Heat Level: 3.5 – 4
Length: 100,000 words
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 1990—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?
Join Peter, in the first of a four-part coming of age series, on his search to love and be loved, and, most of all, how to grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.
I have a few authors where I don’t even read the blurbs. Someone says “Hey, do you want an ARC from *insert author name* and I say “Yes” and off I go. This author is on that list. So…….Alisa didn’t read the blurb or the note at the bottom of it and went into this expecting a sweet ya love story. Alisa ended up reading way into the middle of the night while grasping a bottle of wine, a box of kleenex and alternating between having teary eyes and screaming death threats at a fictional character. (You know….as all sane people do).
The Feelz in this. OMG…..the feelz. As the blurb says (now that I’ve read it) Peter is an 18 year old going into his last year of high school. He was bullied at his previous school so he’s transferring into a private school where he meets Adam, who is also a new transfer. The two boys become friends and then more. While Peter knows he is gay he is not “out”. His parents don’t know and he doesn’t actually have any friends to tell. He lives in the South and does not feel very safe in regards to coming out about his sexuality. Adam on the other hand is Peter’s opposite. He’s traveled the world and he knows he is bisexual and he has had experience with both girls and boys. Despite having more experience Adam is not really comfortable with his feelings towards males. He also has far more fear about the community they live in than Peter does.
This part of the story covers their last year of high school and all the feelings that go with it. The story is told from Peter’s pov and he learns a lot about love and sex and embracing who you are. Unfortunately he also learns a lot about lies, and secrets, and shame, and losing respect for yourself.
My emotions were wrung out in this. So many times I wanted to shake both of these boys. I would get so frustrated with Peter for letting Adam do the things he did but I remember high school and I remember fumbling through those first relationships. I remember the hard lessons most of us have to learn along the way. Adam was really hard for me. I was just as smitten with him at the beginning of the book as Peter was. As the story goes on I became more and more angry with him. I get he’s a teenager and teenagers are by nature often very selfish but it doesn’t make it any easier to read. By the end of the book I was raging with anger at him. It will be a hard sell for the author to redeem him for me (not even sure that’s where this story is going but I’m drinking coffee out of my Adrien English coffee mug as I write this cuz…..flashbacks)
The end of the story brings us to the end of high school with college on the horizon. Peter’s taking a hard look at himself and thinking about the choices he has to make next. I’m kind of worried since I believe there are 3 more books in the series. Seems like it’s going to be a hella long, emotional road to the hea. *adds “more wine” to the grocery list*
I wasn’t sure at first how I was going to rate this. The writing and storytelling were just great but I was so upset with the events that happened that when I finished this last night I was not a happy reader. After giving it lot’s of thought though, I realized that the fact that I am so wrecked speaks to the fabulous storytelling that took place here. So…..go buy some alcohol, build a little concrete wall around your heart, practice all your swear words and go get this.
Reviewed by Alisa