Dreamspinner Press, John Goode

Taking A Chance On John Goode’s “Taking Chances” Is A Sure Bet

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” – Denis Waitley

Tyler Parker knows very well what it’s like growing up gay in Foster, Texas, the town where Brad Greymark and Kyle Stilleno have begun to redefine what it means to be out and proud in the one place where being different means being an outcast.

Being the handsome All American Boy and a star athlete in high school came with certain expectations for Ty, and with those expectations came the fear that the secrets he kept would mean the end of him. The closet he’s hidden in is a difficult and lonely place to live, but he doesn’t know any other way to be after all those years of hiding. Though thanks to Brad and Kyle, Ty has cracked the door open, only now beginning to wonder what might be waiting for him on the other side.

Matt Wallace is the youngest of the three Wallace boys, all football players, all larger than life in high school, where they were idolized. Matt spent his teenage years working at doing little more than fitting in, laughing in all the right places, dating girls, hiding his true feelings and wants as best he could in spite of the fact his feelings and wants led him past Ty’s house nearly every day just to try and catch a glimpse of the Golden Boy Matt had fallen in love with from a distance.

Matt’s secret crush on Ty wasn’t a fleeting high school love affair. No, Matt’s feelings for Ty as a teenager have shaped who Matt has become as an adult, comparing every guy he meets to the image of the boy he’d spied on as Ty leaned against his back door and read, barefoot and beautiful and unattainable.

Matt’s life in San Francisco is empty and, truth be told, he’s a little bitter. He’s got the money and the career, but that’s hollow compensation for the fact that he doesn’t fit in there any better than he did in Foster. He’s got a best friend named Sophia, a shrewish harpy who seems happy to see Matt stay just as miserable as she is, and he’s got his memories of Ty that he uses as the measuring stick against which he compares every man he dates, finding that they all fall short.

John Goode has handed the world of Foster, Texas over to the grownups in Taking Chances, proving that adults don’t have all the right answers and falling in love is not an instant fix for a lifetime of denial.

This is a story of second chances. And third chances. And fourth. It’s a story of love and of fear and of things from the past that can never be forgotten. It’s a story of revisiting the past and making huge mistakes, and is a story that shows sometimes wisdom has nothing to do with the years a person has lived and everything to do with perspective gained over the amount of life lived in those years. Taking Chances is a story of finding the courage to love yourself so you can finally love someone else.

There’s a reason this series is a favorite of mine, which has everything to do with the fact that the people who populate this town are people that I know, people that I could know, people that I might not want to know but who could be neighbors just the same. John Goode writes with humor and heart and with a realism that touches something beyond entertainment and becomes a story that I want to read again and again.

This book crosses over into End of the Innocence, so if you haven’t read that book in the “Tales From Foster High” series do that first to avoid spoilers. But make sure to have plenty of tissues handy, because not only does Mr. Goode know how to tell a great story, he also knows how to tug at the heartstrings.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Taking Chances (A Tales From Foster High Story) here:


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