Author: Will Parkinson
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.
High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.
When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what–or who–they face, they belong together.
Will Parkinson was recently a guest of Prism Book Alliance. Be Sure to check out their guest post here.
Will Parkinson’s follow-up to “Pitch,” takes us back to the same clutch of Milwaukee teenagers we in his first book. Here the focus shifts away from Taylor and Jackson to Taylor’s best friend Benny Peters, the hard-working A-student, a gentle giant who has been Taylor’s protector and mentor since they were kids.
This is Benny’s journey, and with him that of Adrian (Addy) Dean, son of Benny’s science teacher. Addy, horrifically abused as a small child by his birth father, falls in love with Benny at Camp Care, where Benny and Taylor are his counselors. Addy’s revelation unlocks a door that Benny had kept firmly shut, and serves as a catalyst for the chain of events that follow over the course of the next year and a half.
These two boys face very different problems. Where Addy is struggling to accept himself as worthy of love, Benny has to grapple with the expectations of others, to recognize where his own needs take priority over his parents’ wishes. While Addy has to learn that he is not to blame for what happened to him, Benny has to understand that he cannot solve everyone’s problems.
As in “Pitch,” Parkinson makes parents matter, something I appreciate in a YA book. Both Benny’s and Addy’s parents, as well as other adults, are involved and make a difference in the kids’ lives and in the ongoing development of the narrative.
All teen novels necessarily deal with young people finding themselves and finding their way. Parkinson fully engages the reader in the lives of his characters, and fills his pages with incident. As with “Pitch,” I kept finding myself wishing that he’d been more leisurely. “Wet Paint,” referring to Addy’s passion for painting, feels rushed, as if the author is hurrying through the story to get to the ending. It is too bad, because it’s a lovely, heartfelt and romantic tale. Perhaps Parkinson is mindful of word count, which he needn’t be. Benny and Addy—and, indeed, Jackson and Taylor and even Addy’s parents—are all people with whom I’d be glad to spend more time.
Being a teenager is tough. Being a gay teenager, although less fraught than when I was that age, is even tougher. Parkinson offers us a tale of love and survival that will resonate with teens of all ages.
The excellent bookstore in my town is awash with YA books, and not one of them aimed at LGBT teens. That’s why books like this are important.
I would like to thank the author 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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