“A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” ― Leopold Stokowski
Ryunoski Nakimura, or Ru to his friends has had a rough time of it recently. At the ripe old age of seventeen Ru has already been at the top of the music industry. He has also been knocked down by the people that should have had his back. Ru was a member of a boy band for years, but a vengeful ex-boyfriend outs Ru and he loses everything. He lost his band, his music contract and all but one of his close friends. Luckily Tommy, a fellow member of his former boy band, stuck with Ru and has been his one point of solace in the nightmare his life has become. After being hounded by the press and finding out that his ex had been cheating on him, Ru decides he needs a change of scenery, so he moves into Tommy’s condo in Minnesota. For more than a month Ru keeps to himself, but finally he decides to step out of his comfort zone and that trip to the library changes his life.
Adam Corbin is a very simple sixteen year old. He goes to school, he plays football and he likes to run. This is all most of the people in his life know about him. On the inside Adam is scared. He hates being on the football team, he has one friend, and he is the only “out” student in the school. Adam has known for a while that he is gay, but he hasn’t found anyone worth coming out for. After all, he saw what happened to his friend Sebastian when he came out. A beating and a serious head injury is not something Adam is looking forward to. He figures if he can just skate through his last two years of high school he can get out of his small town and get on with his life. His plan seems to be working until the day he goes to the library to research a paper and he sees the most beautiful young man in the world, well, in Adam’s world at least. Adam has no idea that Ru is a celebrity and when he finds a note with Ru’s name and phone number on it in his folder, he is both elated and scared to death.
Ru and Adam have a very sweet first date, which happens to not only be Adam’s first date, but his first kiss also. The two young men start spending all of their free time together. Ru’s mother has decided that she is going to travel and just live off Ru’s money, and his father dumped Ru at age eleven when he found out that Ru is gay. When Adam realizes that Ru has no family aside from Tommy, he decides that he will share his family with him. Between school for Adam and recordings for Ru, which Adam still doesn’t know about, the boys don’t get as much time together as they would like, but they make it work. Of course, as soon as things start going well for them the other shoe drops. Someone that wants Adam for himself outs Ru as a celebrity and infers that he is cheating on Adam. Then Adam comes out and he has to deal with harassment and some violence. Ru and Adam work through the drama and grow closer than they ever thought was possible.
This book is a must read for any LGBTQ youth you know. I would recommend this book for many reasons. There is a theme throughout the story of acceptance. I believe that Sebastian is one of the strongest characters in the book. This boy has his stuff TOGETHER. He is out and proud and he won’t let anyone scare him back into the closet. Near the end of the book, Sebastian gives a speech at the school that made me bawl like a baby. As much as Adam thought he was invisible, he was at least one person’s hero. The thing I really loved was the simple idea that just being nice to someone that everyone else shuns could save a life. Accepting someone for who they are, no strings attached, can make you shine and can make someone else feel like a million bucks. It can pull them back from the edge you didn’t know they were teetering on.
Sam Kadence has written a wonderful story with a message of acceptance for any LGBTQ youth, both from the outside and from within themselves.
Reviewed by: Jackie