The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter ~ Book Review by Ulysses

Music-in-the-SpheresTitle: The Music of the Spheres

Author: Chase Potter

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 01/25/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance


An athlete and introvert from a family touched by loss, Ryan Mattson splits his life between reading and spending time with his dad and precocious younger sister. With the wounds of his past almost healed, high school is simple, and so is everything else.

But that changes when Ryan is paired with Adam for a class project. Adam, the guy with birthmarks like flecks of mud and compost-brown eyes that hide behind dorky glasses. Grudgingly, the two young men work together, and as they do, an unlikely friendship is formed.

With the passing college years, their bond deepens and grows. Even Ryan’s sister and dad take a liking to Adam, and the family – always missing a voice – seems to gain another. But just as Ryan is forced to confront what Adam really means to him, his family is dragged toward crisis. And beneath the silent snows and starlit sky of a Minnesota winter, their friendship will be tested more than ever before.

My View:

Denial, it’s not just a river in Egypt.
I’ve always wanted to say that. And indeed, this book seems to be all about denial.

But look, in my last review of a Chase Potter book (The Water Will Catch You) this is how I started it: At last, a young gay writer who understands bisexuality. As I started this book, I was increasingly anxious that Chase Potter was going to pull a “gay for you” on me. But he came through. I am grateful.

Well, I’m grateful in this one, too, and seem to have discovered a motif that makes me wonder about Potter’s own experiences, from which he draws his inspiration (at least according to his Amazon author blurb). But I also have to admit that Chase Potter’s experiences as a young gay man appear to have nothing to do with my own experiences coming out at 20 back in the 1970s.

“The Music of the Spheres” is written gently, generously and brimming with sincerity. Like “The Water Will Catch You” it focuses on two high school friends, Adam and Ryan, who form a tight bond as teenagers. Indeed, the reader can recognize right away that these guys love each other. But Ryan, through whose eyes the narrative unrolls, never catches onto the depth of his love for Adam, even though his loving father and high-energy little sister both see it clearly enough. The book follows five years in the lives of these two different young men, through separation and tragedy, during which their friendship is the one unshakeable element that keeps them both anchored.

What kept me anxious and slightly unhappy through a lot of the book—in spite of the very appealing characters and lovely writing—was the irritating double-barreled gay-for-you undertone. It is simply difficult for me to wrap my mind around two 21st-century highschool/college age men who are so out of touch with their sexuality. On the one hand there is barely any heterosexual activity mentioned on either side throughout the book (something very different from The Water Will Catch You), and this absence is never discussed in any way that explains it as a counterpoint to the long slow burn of their outwardly-denied feelings for each other. On the other hand, there is never any rejection or guilt or homophobic reaction to the notion of same-sex attraction, just denial that it exists. Until it does. This aspect of the book simply wasn’t believable to me, and that kept me from fully embracing Adam and Ryan’s story. I wish I knew better where Chase Potter is coming from.

Perhaps this is my generational perspective getting in the way of a millennial outlook on sexuality. But what I suspect is really happening is that Chase Potter is trying to probe more deeply into the vagaries of bisexuality, and just not quite hitting the mark.

All that said, I gave this book four stars because I loved the writing and love the characters that Potter gives us. I brought me to tears more than once, and in the end, I forgave a great deal, because Potter knows how to talk about love. I want to keep reading what Potter writes, because I suspect he’ll keep probing.


The Music of the Spheres on Goodreads

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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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