If you doubted John Goode’s style could translate to an adult novel, look no further than Taking Chances.
Author: John Goode
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
A Tales from Foster High Story
Fearing the backlash of living as a gay man in Foster, Texas, Matt Wallace runs away to California, only to find it isn’t the Promised Land he’d hoped for. Christmas sees Matt returning to Foster, where he bumps into his old flame, high school jock Tyler Parker.
Now that they’re older, it doesn’t take Matt too long to figure out that love at first sight is a very real thing. The only problem is neither Matt nor Tyler seems to know what to do after that. They’re both running from the past—and each other—requiring some reverse engineering to actually spur the relationship past the false start.
Taking Chances has been sitting on my mind a few days warring with itself. In that time, I have rated anywhere from 4 to 5 stars. In the end, I compromised and chose 4.5. Why the controversy with myself? The more I think about it, the more I can see two completely different ways to approach this book. One way would be as a stand alone addition to the Tales from Foster universe. The other is as an extension of book 2, End of the Innocence. Make no mistake, this book is fully set in the Tales From Foster High world, however, it does not progress Brad and Kyle’s story in any way. Instead, it takes place at the same time as End of the Innocence and addresses some of the background stories that will likely become important in later additions to the series. As such, while the main story, that of Matt and Tyler, is not dependent on Innocence, a lot of the supporting stories are integrally connected to the main series. (note: another Goode story featured prominently in Taking Chances is his Christmas Novella The Boy Behind the Red Door, which I have not read as of this writing)
So is all that clear as mud? Allow me to simplify it. Read Tales From Foster High (or the 3 “Adult” Novellas that makeup the full young adult collection). Read End of the Innocence. THEN, read Taking Chances. Capisce? Okay, moving on.
Tyler and Matt. What a mess those two are. Think of them this way. They would be Brad in 10 or 15 years if it were not for Kyle. Matt and Tyler both grew up gay and closeted in Foster. Both grew up athletes. Both grew up “big boys” in town. Both grew up with a certain amount of self loathing that they just ca not seem to shake. Both grew up with a crush on the other. Fast forward to the time of the Foster series (mid-90s) and they have 1 week together at Christmas to… have fun. Yep, you know where that setup is going. It is how they get there and what comes next that make this a story worth reading.
Chances is once again told in Goode’s Ferris Bueller style (that is what I call it, anyway), where the characters switch seamlessly between first and second person narrative. It told in the, mostly, alternating points of view of both Matt and Tyler. As such you get both of their take on their pasts and their present. Some of the same cast of characters from the Tales and Innocence are around, with a few new additions. Sophia, Matt’s San Francisco fag hag, should not be allowed in polite company. Sophia’s boyfriend needs to find his way out his own personal the closet. Robbie is back with more explanation of why he is who he is (If you liked Robbie in Innocence, the Chances is worth the read for his story alone). Kyle and Brad are of course back, along with Kyle’s mom…. oh Kyle’s mom… another reason to read Chances. Add in the Wallace and Parker families… So much is happening.
I am going to focus on the main plot now. Matt and Tyler. Tyler and Matt. Oh they need a good slap upside the head, both of them. They both have their moments of immaturity, their moments of weakness, their moments that made me go WTF? In the end, they both had their moments of strength, as well. They are good together. If only they could figure that out for themselves. I love this couple, once their heads find their way out of their asses, and look forward to seeing more of them.
If you are a fan of the Tales of Foster High series (Adult or YA versions), Taking Chances is a worthy addition to the series.
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press 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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