Author: Russell J. Sanders
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 01/14/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
High school senior Neil Darrien is a budding musical theater star. He has it all-a beautiful girlfriend, a scholarship at a prestigious school, and plenty of chances to showcase his talent. But when Zane Jeffrey comes to town and immediately lands a spot in the school show choir, Neil is jealous. What Neil didn’t count on, though, is Zane’s charm and humor, and the two soon become friends.
Melissa, Neil’s girlfriend, notices Zane monopolizing Neil and draws Neil into her church. There Neil discovers a situation he knows he needs to fix, but if he does, a deep, dark secret that could cost him his future career might come out.
When his relationship with Melissa becomes rocky, Neil is drawn to Zane in a way that is more than friendship.
Wow! This book was amazing. It totally blew me away. I could see the author had talent when I read The Book of Ethan but Colors was even more fantastic.
There are some touchy subjects in the book but they are handled skillfully and realistically and never for titillation.
The main character is Neil Darrien, a budding musical theater star. His life isn’t too bad. He has a girlfriend and a scholarship to an excellent school. He’s also got a secretive past he’d rather forget. Nine years before he was molested by his church’s pastor. It was before the death of his parents and he want to live with his aunt and he’s sure he can leave it in the past.
Things in his well-organized life are shaken up when a new student comes to town and joins the show choir. Zane Jeffrey is unique, a true one of a kind character and he Neil become good friends very quickly. Unfortunately, Neil’s girlfriend, Melissa, isn’t as enamored with Zane as Neil is.
I adored Neil and Zane very much and found them to be original and true to life. Melissa, not so much. She’s somewhat of the stereotypical bitch we see so much in this genre. I gave her some slack because she is a teenager but she just wasn’t a pleasant person. She played with Neil’s emotions and emotionally blackmailed him more than once to get what she wanted and never cared how it affected him.
Despite Neil’s aversion to church and all things religion Neil agrees to perform a song at Melissa’s church. That leads to another performance and then he joins to choir and that leads to a show featuring Neil and Melissa. Each time he performs he has to deal with the colors from the stain glassed windows. It was those colors he focused on while he was being molested.
While Neil is dealing with his performances and relationship with Melissa, his friendship with Zane intensifies. Neil begins to suspect that not only is Zane gay but that he, himself, is as well. He doesn’t have anything against homosexuality but he doesn’t want to think he was made gay because of what happened to him.
The truth about Neil’s abuse comes to light in a very public and absolutely perfect way. He doesn’t come clean because he needs to open up but because he sees the pastor is still up to his old ways.
It was Neil’s decision that made me love him more than I already had. And how the people around him react to that news that set my decisions regarding them. Melissa—Evil. Zane—Amazing. And Neil’s Aunt Jenny—I loved her so much I wish she was my aunt.
I’m not usually a fan of present tense but it didn’t bother me here whatsoever. It wasn’t jarring and actually worked perfectly for Neil’s voice.
This was a unique plot and the entire world was well-thought out; teachers, friends, other students. Except for Melissa there were no stereotypical or cardboard characters.
My one complaint are the short passages that show Zane communicating with his friend Cara. I found them jarring and they pulled me out of the story. But they didn’t ruin the story at all.
Amazing story. Beautifully written. Simply incredible.
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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