Author: Robbie Michaels
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/28/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Young Adult
Caught: When Adam’s father catches him in bed with his best friend, he rips Adam away from his comfortable life in the city and sends him to a farm in the country, hoping some hard work will “fix” him. Adam is supposed to work with Ben, a hostile young man who clearly doesn’t want him there, no matter how hard Adam tries to prove himself. When Ben kisses him, Adam is shocked and delighted but terrified his father will once again pull him away from a home he’s grown to like.
As their relationship grows in secret, Ben promises to stay with Adam when school starts to help him get to know the place and the people. However, Amelia, a young woman Ben had dated, latches on to Ben again. Adam is furious at being abandoned to fend for himself on his first day in a new school. A physical confrontation with Amelia lands Adam in trouble again, and his father’s involvement complicates all their lives. Betrayal and an uncertain future threaten Adam and Ben’s budding summer relationship.
Caught in the Middle: After a rocky start to the school year, Ben and Adam are getting their feet on solid ground, despite a lot of obstacles. Amelia, Ben’s former girlfriend, isn’t willing to let Ben go so easily. At Christmas, Amelia delivers a bombshell that keeps Adam and Ben apart over the holiday. When Adam returns from seeing his family, Ben, who avoids conflict at all cost, will not talk to him.
Adam figures out Amelia’s scheme, and when he confronts her, she retaliates by arranging an ambush in the school parking lot one night.
Ben is horrified when he sees Adam lying battered in the hospital. Adam is more than physically broken. His spirit is wounded, and he sees only the negative, the struggle ahead, and Ben’s betrayal. Healing, both in body and mind, is a long arduous road.
It’s up to Ben to convince Adam that there is still good in life and that he’ll be there to help Adam every step of the way. If Adam will let him.
Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers
I waited awhile to write this review after reading the two books. Why? Disappointment. I hoped maybe some time would allow me to think twice about how I felt, but unfortunately that was not the case.
I absolutely loved Caught, the first book in the series and looked forward to moving on to book two, Caught in the Middle. However, my feelings about this one was extremely different. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked book two of a series so much when I’d enjoyed book one so much.
Caught is a sweet story about a city boy, Adam, falling in love with a country boy, Ben. Adam and Ben started off on a bad note, with Ben not treating Adam very well, and Adam more than happy to return the snark. But their rivalry was masking a deep attraction and both young men are more than happy to act on.
I liked how their relationship started slowly with some sexual shenanigans before leading up to penetration. The sex scenes were well written and while the young men do have sex, it’s not written as erotic.
There’s some decent conflict in the story with Ben and Adam being outed, Adam’s relationship with his father and Ben’s relationship with a girl. It ended on a high note with hope for a positive future, while also setting up further conflict. The book wasn’t perfect—there were times the teens’ dialogue was unrealistic—but overall a pleasant reading experience.
Then came the second book.
I don’t want to be all negative, but I can’t really think of any positive for Caught in the Middle. The writing that made book one unique seemed to be totally absent in the second one. It was so chock full of clichés and tropes that I found myself rolling my eyes at how unoriginal it was.
Cliché #1: Ben’s ex-girlfriend announces she is pregnant because, of course, of the many times they had sex there were one or he didn’t wear protection.
Cliché #2: Even though we’re in 2015 and Ben was outed as gay, he was still going to “do the right thing” and marry her. Why would she want a man she knew was gay? Why would her parents think this was the best option? Do girls like this still exist?
Cliché #3: Rather than have an adult conversation about everything, Ben refuses to talk to Adam. In fact, he makes his mother tell Adam about the nuptials. I understand technically they are teenagers and not totally mature, but I just didn’t buy Ben’s absolute refusal to talk to Adam about what was happening. This led to pages and pages and pages of a depressed Adam wonder why Ben won’t talk to him.
By sheer coincidence, and I mean a huge coincidence, Adam learns the girl is on her period and therefore, obviously, not pregnant. Before long, Ben learns the truth and the engagement is over.
But Ben still doesn’t talk to Adam. Why? That’s a good question. I have no clue. So Ben and Adam are apart even there though there really isn’t a reason. There wasn’t a reason with the fake pregnancy, but now there’s even less of one. There’s even more pages and pages of a depressed Adam wondering why Ben won’t talk to him.
Cliché #4: It takes a near-death experience for Ben to pull his head out of his ass and talk to Adam. But now Adam has withdrawn because of an assault, and isn’t sure he can trust Ben in his life.
And I didn’t blame him one tiny bit. If I had been Adam I wouldn’t have given Ben a second chance. This wasn’t little shit, this was major. If Adam hadn’t been hurt would Ben have ever come around? I’m not sure.
By the end I just didn’t buy Adam and Ben’s relationship. I was actually hoping Adam would move on. He deserved someone better.
Caught: 4 stars
Caught in the Middle: 2 stars
Overall: 3 stars
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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