“In the lie of truth lies the truth.” ― Dejan Stojanovic
Author: Louis Stevens
Publisher: Queerteen Press
Pages/Word Count: 118
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Blurb: From the age of three, Tim Bailey wanted to marry Tom Watkins. Many changes occurred during their formative years, but Tim’s love for Tom remained rock solid. Even when Tom temporarily broke up with him to date girls, Tim never stopped loving Tom.
Because his father walking out on his family, Tim doesn’t trust easily. His friend Tom’s bisexuality makes him uneasy. Tom is a popular high school football player who can have anyone he wants, boy or girl. So why would he choose nerdy Tim? The fact Tom won’t come out at school further feeds Tim’s insecurities and suspicions.
Tom has always felt the pressure from his dad and his friends to be the typical jock. This means hiding the gay side of his bisexuality and only acknowledging Tim in private. Tom has promised once they’re at college in New York, he and Tim will be able to live openly as a loving gay couple. Tim just needs to be patient.
Things come to a dramatic head at an event everyone has been waiting for, their end of year graduation party. Many truths are revealed, old scores are settled, and everyone’s lives are changed. Can Tom keep his promise to always love and protect Tim, or will previous lies and secrets kill off what has been growing between the boys for fifteen years?
Review: Okay, where the hell was my warning that this book would contain traumatic non-con sexual encounters? “Things come to a dramatic head…” was simply not good enough. I don’t especially like to read about rape and would never have chosen to review this book had I known. THAT BEING SAID…here comes the review part…concentrate :P
This was an exceptionally well written book, flawlessly worded and easy to read. The author has nothing short of a fantastic gift for prose and I found myself flicking through the earlier part of this book with ease, walked down a yellow brick road of blossoming love from the sandbox to the high school hallways. Tom and Tim were a really cute and really relatable couple, with past experiences shaping their trust in one another very believeably.
The bulk of this story gave us the greatest hits of Tim and Tom, with some aid from other characters, and though James was introduced early on, the ominous portents were kept to a minimum until the final climactic chapter. Where I thought the conflict was heading was to the seemingly dominant possessive stance Tom took over his lover, and Tim’s uncertainty about how much he liked to submit to his boyfriend. This theme was recurrent throughout the story, but we’ll come back to that later.
I think in the back of my mind, I knew something was amiss with this story, so I found myself relaxing a little when the page count started to thin and the worst we had seen was a cheating theory proven wrong. Then came the last portion of this book. It seemed like the author just got bored telling the story of Tim and Tom and their love that had grown since the age of three. So what better to do? I know! Let’s have them both raped and almost killed by a handful of high school jocks who had been raped and tormented (along with most of the school) by one guy. So this one guy raped everyone and now everyone was either in his pocket or a rapist themselves. It was all a little bit WTF for my liking, and again I re-iterate that this was because I have a grocery list of things I choose not to read about.
Then, with the help of his best friend, Tim and his lover, demoralised and degraded, escape the attack to live their life, with the instigator still on the loose. I would have thought the story would focus on finding this mass-raping madman, but no. While Tim’s internal injuries from being forced sexually are still healing and both boys are well aware they are suffering from PTSD, they decide to have a conversation about a dom/sub relationship. Yeah. I know if I was raped, I would be very much concerned with adding some force to my sexual relationship (he said, with dripping sarcasm). And they don’t even catch the bad guy! This story went from clean cut romantic love story to being cleaved in half with an unbelievable sexual terrorism that quite frankly was just off the charts unnecessary and difficult to chew. I wanted more warning that that was where we were heading, and failing that, I didn’t much want to read about their burgeoning sexual dom/sub relationship after a horrible (but again fantastically written) sexual attack.
This story was confusing, and not to my taste at all. The bad guys did not ring true, their motivations were almost incidental and the lack of aftershock for the MC’s was unbelievable. I didn’t relate to the back end of this story, found it fell apart quickly, and the priorities of this author were all over the place. It was insensitive about rape, with brush off statements being flung around about classmates killing themselves because of their rapes, that conversation had whilst playing a game on an iPad.
That being said, the writing was stellar, the author sure knows how to shock and mostly it was put together almost poetically…so what to do? I’ll cut it down the middle. 2.5 stars for this one, but I’m not sure I can handle another rollercoaster read courtesy of Louis Stevens.