Author: Dirk Hunter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Two guys insist on complicating Dylan O’Connor’s life: one, his bully, and the other, his best friend.
It started out simple enough. Step one, outsmart Adam with wit and flair, goad him into doing something stupid, and land him in detention. Step two, play video games with Kai all night and laugh about it. Go to bed. Repeat tomorrow. Only, Adam and Kai are about to change the rules on him.
First, Adam’s bullying turns suddenly violent, leaving Dylan to wonder if his bully really needs a friend. Then, Kai makes an unexpected move Dylan has only imagined in his most secret fantasies. Only he’d never dreamed it might come at a price.
While Adam opens up, coming closer to revealing a secret he’s kept his entire life, Kai pulls away—even as they get closer than ever.
With everything he thought he understood turned upside down, Dylan must decide what he really wants from the men in his life—before inaction loses him the very relationships he’s always relied on.
No pressure, Dylan. You got this. It’s just love. How hard could it be?
I am going to start off this review by saying that there is a segment of our readership that will take exception to this book. There is explicit sex depicted between high schoolers. If that is not something you can handle in your fiction, After School Activities is not the book for you. If you can get past that fact, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Hunter has a unique voice that comes through Dylan with reverence, wit, and intelligence. After School Activities is the kind of book that reminds me why I adore first-person narrative.
Dylan is a typical out gay high school junior. If fact, he is the only out, gay kid in his school. He is also a typical teenager. He is a bit selfish, a bit prone to drama and over reaction. He is not all that self-aware and he makes mistakes. Oh boy… does he make mistakes. Most importantly he is lead by his hormones. Those hormones get him into some serious binds.
Enter his life long best friend and his lifelong bully. I think anyone who has read the blurb, can tell where this story is going. I know I had a pretty accurate picture before I read the first word. However, what could have been dull and predictable was instead a page turner that wouldn’t let me go. Once I started, I didn’t want to put this book down. I read it basically in one interrupted sitting. (I had to go pick up my kid from school, after all).
This story was not perfect. There were a few times characters came out of nowhere (Dylan had a sister? really?) because they were needed to make a point and then never mentioned again. There were a few events that pinged my “nope, I don’t think so” alarm. However, as I sat composing my review, I found these small issues just didn’t put a dent in the enjoyment I took from this fabulous novel. I can’t wait to read more from this author.
This title is officially categorized as “New Adult” because of the sex, I presume, because the characters are all in high school. Is this a story I am going to put on the shelf for my kids? Not necessarily. It will depend on their maturity level at the time. It isn’t one I would give any teen without some thought and consideration. However, I think there is a segment of LGBTQ+ youth that can handle it.
I would like to thank the publisher 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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