A most delightful and original book cover, plus a marvelous young adult story …
Author: Jeff Mann
Publisher: Bear Bones Books
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Not every gay teen yearns for fashion and popular culture. Some boys are pure country folk and like the feel of flannel and the smell of the farm. And they’re neither lithe nor muscle-bound but stocky boys, the ones who develop hairy chests, arms, and faces years earlier than their peers.One such seventeen-year-old is Travis Ferrell, shy among most of the other kids at school, but proud of his West Virginia roots. He has not yet admitted his passion for handsome guys — and his idea of what handsome is and what handsome does is not much different from him. Soon he’ll learn that he’s not unique; gay culture has a name for young men like him.
Jeff Mann’s Cub is a charming young adult novel with Travis, a seventeen year old young man living in a West Virginia small town, as the irresistable main character. Travis is a long haired, large, bearded poet who loves living and working on his family’s farm. He considers himself a Wiccan nerd, and he dreams of leaving for West Virginia University the following year, where he plans to join a small group of lesbian friends. Travis knows he’s gay, but he doesn’t look like most of the smooth, thin gay men he sees in most trendy media. He’s also convinced he’s fat and unattractive, and he’s conflicted about his BDSM fantasies. He strikes up a friendship with Mike, another muscular, hairy and bearded seventeen year old who’s a high school drop-out working at a garage. Mike tells Travis that they are both “cubs,” or young “bears,” and that there’s a whole subculture of gay men who love men who look like them. Mike helps Travis to feel better about himself physically, and stands with him in the face of harsh bullying and bigotry. They embark on a year of exuberant teenage sexual exploration, and fall deeply in love.
Cub is such an unusual delight, and the cover art is absolutely priceless. Mann has written a book that young gay men who may feel they don’t “fit in” with popular gay culture can read and and enjoy. They now have a splendid story to read of two teenagers who learn that gay men, similar to all people regardless of their sexual orientation, don’t come in a “one size fits all” version. There are beefy, burly, muscular and delicious gay men who are just as attractive and desirable as smooth, thin men. Mann’s depiction of Travis as a oversexed teenager who is insecure, and impatient to leave his small town for college, is pitch perfect. Mann’s Travis is an awkward, teenage dreamer who discovers that while he may be a bit different, he’s not alone and he’s most certainly worthy of love.
My only grumble with this fine story is that I would like a glimpse into Travis and Mike’s futures beyond the single year covered in Cub. However, perhaps Jeff Mann knows best when he leaves their futures uncertain, because at only eighteen years old, Travis and Mike’s futures aren’t set in stone, and the possibilities are virtually limitless. Maybe Mann will someday write a sequel to Cub … and name it Bear! Ok … maybe I can’t name books, but I certainly can read them, and I adored reading Cub. I highly recommend Jeff Mann’s Cub – read it, and you will adore it too!
I would like to thank Jeff Mann and Bear Bones Books for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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