Author: Robert Halliwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/05/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction
A Tales from Foster High Story
Snarky yet good-hearted Robbie DeCaro made his first appearance in the pages of Tales from Foster High: End of the Innocence, years after the loss of his first and only love. A New York transplant, Robbie now decides that his work is done in the town of Foster, and the time has come for him to leave Texas.
Returning to his childhood home on Long Island, Robbie reunites with his family members. Each using their own unique methods, they try in vain to help Robbie reset to a life he knew before he left it all for the fairy-tale love he found, then tragically lost.
As he remembers some of the darkest moments from his past, Robbie wonders if he’ll ever find the “after” in “happily ever after.”
If you know me at all you know I have a love affair with all things related to the Tales from Foster High Series by John Goode. If you don’t know that, trust me, I do. If you haven’t read the series, do it. Now! I will wait. Okay, we all good?
Foster, Texas has finished telling us its tale. It has changed for the better thanks to two boys, Kyle and Brad. However, there is another character from Foster, who was irrevocably changed due to the influence of two brave gay teens in a tiny hick Texas town. Robbie DeCaro.
During Kyle and Brad’s adventures in the Tales from Foster High series, we meet Robbie as a hard-hearted, bitchy, bitter queen out to punish the town for everything it has taken from him. However, we know there is more to his story. Near the end of 151 Days, Robbie is riding off into the sunset to return to his family home.
A Way Back to Then by Robert Halliwell, takes up Robbie’s story from the moment he pulls his little green bug away from Kyle on his way to saying goodbye to Foster, Texas. You don’t strictly have to have read the entire Foster High series to appreciate Robbie’s trials and tribulations in A Way Back to Then. There is actually way more backstory on Robbie in Way Back than you have from Tales, but it is designed that way. This is Robbie’s story. The good, the bad, the heartbreaking, and the ugly. It is all there for us to see.
While I felt for Robbie, in Tales, I fell for him in A Way Back to Then.
Robbie is broken. Robbie has been without a compass for five years. Way Back mixes flashbacks to tell Robbie’s side of and expand on some of the scenes you have already seen in Tales with his present struggle to find his direction. It shows us that there is so much more to Robbie than his affectation and barbed tongue gives us.
We get to know his hurts, his vulnerabilities, his reasons, and his heart. We get to see him finally break through the ice cage he built around his heart. The one Kyle started to melt just a little, despite Robbie’s best efforts. We finally get to see him with his own support system. He is no longer the lone wolf trying to make it through the day.
One of the things I fell in love with in the Foster Series, and I was worried would be lost with A Way Back to Then, was the witty banter, pop culture references flung with precision, and just the overall pacing. While the tone is a bit different, the overall feel and pacing from Foster is not lost. One big difference is that this title is completely from Robbie’s perspective. Without the alternating points of view, the secondary characters remain mostly mysteries.
There are a couple of rough continuity spots, such as alternating Seb’s job — though it could also just have been Robbie deliberately misunderstanding. However, none of the rough spots were enough to pull me from the story.
For Brad and Kyle fans, we get a few peeks into their world. And just a warning you will NEED When I Grow Up as soon as you finish up A Way Back to Then. Warning number two: have a box of tissues handy. I can’t tell you how many heartstrings were tugged in the reading of this story.
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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