Author: Mickie B Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Lil Lampert’s forty-fifth birthday turns the effervescent architect into a brooding mess, and his partner, Grier Dilorio, takes him to Italy to help him regain his zest for life. The timing is bad—almost-fifteen-year-old Luca has just started high school, and his mother and stepfather are also traveling. Luca is left in the care of Chicago Bear, Clark Stevens, and his partner, Dr. Jody Williams.
Growing up with two dads and two gay uncles has given Luca a unique perspective on gender roles, but not all the answers. He’s had a secret crush on his straight best friend, Chip, for years. Suddenly, Luca finds himself attracted to Chyna, Chip’s twin sister. Now he’s wondering if this means he’s bisexual.
Born with a sexual development disorder, Chyna should have been raised as a male, but due to an epic parenting fail, is being raised as female. Hiding the truth becomes more difficult when Chyna hits puberty, and crushing over Luca adds another element to Chyna’s struggle to fit in.
Is Luca’s moral compass strong enough to guide him successfully through this period of discovery or will he succumb to peer pressure and shatter Chyna’s dreams for happiness?
This book may have made me the angriest I have been in a while with the sheer selfishness of Chyna’s parents, in particular her mother. To want something is fine but to manipulate, lie and ultimately damage someone you are supposed to love and protect is abuse.
This is the story of Chyna and to a lesser extent her twin brother Chip. These twins were desperately wanted by their parents after they struggled to get pregnant but from the minute they were born Chyna was placed at a disadvantage, primarily by the dreams of her mother, a fact that would have a huge impact on her later in life.
Chyna was born as intersex. Outwardly presenting as a boy with male chromosomes but with female organs inside. Everything the doctors said at the time of the birth was ignored when her mother registered her as female. That one decision was the first of many poor ones that saw me raging as I read this story and felt Chyna’s despair.
When Chyna hits puberty her carefully constructed life starts falling down around her ears. On top of coping with the changes happening to her body, her less than ideal image of herself when compared to her peers she has to face up to the fact of her mother’s deceit. Her brother Chip is an amazing source of support not only working hard at school in the hope of a career that may eventually help other people with similar situations but putting a lot of his own personal life on hold to protect and help his sister through each crisis. I felt her father was useless and could have done with a good shaking!
If you have read the rest of the Horizons Series you will already have met Luca. He is the son of Grier and Lil and an incredibly well rounded young man. As his dad’s head off on a month’s sabbatical to sort out a mini crisis of their own he goes to stay with his uncles. He is at that age where he is questioning his sexuality more and more and is lucky to have the support he has when he needs to ask pertinent questions. He has had a long time crush on his best friend which he felt pointed to him being gay but when he starts noticing his best friends twin sister he ponders on the fact that maybe he is bisexual.
Chyna and Luca move from friendship to boyfriend/girlfriend with Chyna slowly becoming more and more confused and Luca having no clue about her suffering and angst. Melinda and Dan are introduced which was perfect for Chyna but it still didn’t resolve the underlying issue. Her mother seemed to become more and more out of control and then events take a disastrous turn leaving Luca having to face a situation that I doubt any fifteen year old boy is equipped to deal with.
Perhaps in reality the ending was a little too easy but this story was beautifully written and Mickie Ashling managed to drag just about every emotion possible out of me in its 320 pages.
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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