Something Like Lightning by Jay Bell ~ Book Review by Ulysses

81Ic7oc4ghL._SL1500 Title: Something Like Lightning

Author: Jay Bell

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Andreas Bell

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars


Never stop running. No matter how often life trips you up, or how many times your enemies knock you down, just get up and keep on moving until you find where you belong.

Kelly Phillips has been out of the closet since he was a young teenager, and thanks to the gay youth group he frequents, he has never been short on friends or lovers. But when you have almost everything, it’s hard not to focus on what’s just out of reach: A best friend, who would be Mr. Right if he wasn’t already Mr. Straight. Or that handsome guy at school, who would be easier to wrangle if not for his angel wings. And then there’s the one who might be a perfect fit, maybe even a soulmate… if only he wasn’t convinced he didn’t need anyone at all. Kelly has always been good at running. Now he must learn to chase, which will not only test his endurance, but the durability of his heart as well.

Something Like Lighting is a new beginning in the Something Like… saga, shifting the focus to a fresh set of characters while also revisiting a familiar face or two.

Ulysses’s View:

Remember, I don’t give five stars. I really enjoyed and admired this book.

Kelly Phillips has it all; parents who accept that he’s gay, a best friend who believes in him, and the fastest legs in school.

But life doesn’t really work out that way, does it?

Jay Bell’s fascinating new book—the first of a series with storm themes—takes the narrative of the young adult novel and spins it into something subtly epic. There is heartbreak, there is disaster, there is joy; but it’s not that simple. Bell weaves a vivid tapestry, sticking to the authentic teenage voice of his central cast, while embracing a wide range of characters, none of whom fit any sort of stereotype. Kelly finds himself having to overcome plenty of hurdles along the way, and even at the end of this long tale, there is no guarantee of happiness. But at the end Kelly is not the boy he was when the book started, and, as it happens, we have begun to believe in him.

One of the more interesting aspects of this book is that, for all his good qualities, I never really liked Kelly. Funny thing, not liking the protagonist of a novel. I can’t tell if Jay Bell is intentionally creating a character that you root for in spite of how you feel about him—or if Bell really admires things about the rather selfish, narcissistic Kelly that I simply find repellant. I suspect the former. This is too clever and too carefully written. Kelly’s portrait is prepared in such precise detail for it to be accidental. Moreover, we’re given characters, like William, who are very easy to like, and life is no easier for them.

Although most of the action of the novel takes place over only two or so years, we see all of the characters—including Kelly’s best gay friend Bonnie and his parents—shift and change and grow as his own character does.

In Kelly’s life, as in actual life, shit happens; then you deal with it (or, maybe, not). Then more shit happens. And so on. I like that Bell doesn’t give us easy outs; doesn’t make people simple and readily understandable; doesn’t automatically make us like people because we feel their pain. Bell forces us to look closely at his characters, and then to decide for ourselves what we think about them.

We never, however, doubt Bell’s belief in the people he writes. And that makes me want to read the sequel; because, like him or not, Kelly is someone I want to know better.

Buy Links

Amazon US
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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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One thought on “Something Like Lightning by Jay Bell ~ Book Review by Ulysses

  1. Nice review, though I felt rather differently about Kelly and William. I thought there was a lot to admire about Kelly, and after feeling neutral about William after “Something Like Spring,” I thought Lightning reflected a vision of him that was meaningfully worse. He and Kelly were adorable at the beginning of their relationship, but as it began to deteriorate, I took Kelly’s side. He was a kid – hotheaded, impulsive, and not always nice, but clear and strong and passionate and engaged. William was trying so hard to be good, rather than honest, that his underlying, substantive decency proved to be thin. Character is often measured by who you are under pressure, and William showed that his natural tendencies were somewhat dishonest and rather weak.

    Take the accident. As Kelly later said about Nathaniel, he’d much rather be with someone who told the truth about his anger and expressed it, because the last person who suppressed his feelings blew a gasket and made Kelly lose a leg.

    And then, there is Jason. I don’t have a moral issue with cheating, but I’ll say this: for all his bitter, bitchy meanness, Kelly would never have done to William what William did to him. Their relationship may have been over, but an honest person who was also strong would have a) refrained, or b) broken up with his boyfriend before cheating on him.

    I actually think Kelly was the better person, on balance. Even though he needs to learn how to do so wisely, it is his instinct to stand up for himself and his friends. He forgave William for the accident — immediately. After William finally sacked up and broke up with him, he didn’t bear a grudge toward Jason because he knew it would make no sense. He grew out of his narcissism – it turned into confidence. And after so very long, he overcame his bitterness fear and learned to be brave about his leg. William was self-absorbed in seeking goodness, that he missed meaningfully achieving it by a mile.

    But, those are just my thoughts. I’m looking forward to the next book, too! 🙂

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