Author: Christopher Koehler
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 01/22/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, New Adult, Young Adult
I thought life after high school would be easier. I’d go to California Pacific for a year while I got a handle on my HIV, then after Michael graduated from high school, we’d blast out of here for colleges—and life—on the East Coast. Then I visited Boston and everything changed. I realized I like CalPac. Turns out, Boston didn’t have anything for me beyond one of the biggest regattas in North America.
Life grew more complicated when I got home. I couldn’t find a way to tell Michael that I’d just blown our plan for our lives out of the water. Then my CalPac coaches dropped a bomb on me. Those rowing officials who’d been watching me? They were recruiters for the national team, and my coaches wanted me to try out. They’d even let Lodestone coach me. Now I have to choose, school or crew, CalPac or Michael, and I still haven’t told Michael I can’t transfer. Is there even a place for Michael in my life? Somehow we have to withstand training at the highest levels and having different goals. Will love hold us together… or tear us apart?
The opening paragraph and I was reminded of one of the reasons I so much enjoyed Poz, book one of this series: the voice of our narrator knows who he is, while not even close to having all the answers, and he carries around a healthy dose of humor, even when he’s using it as a coping mechanism.
Game on, Remy, game on.
Remy is experiencing a lot of those firsts in terms of adult decisions and changes that seem unstoppable, looming large as one turns 18 and becomes legally responsible for one’s life. Is he really in love? Is it long-term relationship love? How does he continue to work through the emotions and reality that is his life now, especially after everything that happened a year and a half ago? What of the plans he and Michael have been making for a life together? How does he navigate dealing with his family, especially when some things are so personal, he shouldn’t have to divulge them, even if they explain his choices? And underneath all of this, he’s dealing with the trauma of a year and a half ago, and the uncertain, shaky, terrifying, and overwhelming emotions that come with all of that. This is a complex story about a complex person and it’s well presented. This is especially true in terms of the familial relationships, and the working relationship between Remy and his therapist, Alicia.
One of my favorite parts of this rowing world, of Remy’s world, is that of the portrayal of the relationship between Remy and his brother, Geoff. Or Germy and Goff as they sometimes call each other. Being twins, they share a lot, including often a point of view on whatever the topic. As they begin to discover, adulthood also means that is sometimes not the case, changing their honest, messy, supportive, loving, and smart connection.
If you’re a young adult, 17, 18, 19 years old, I’d venture a guess and say this book might feel like a revelation, involving many of the challenges not often openly discussed in families, or even amongst friends or teammates.
The writing is meaty and expressive. The pace speeds along while still allowing attention to be paid to each important event and topic. There are some cases of repetition, though. Some of the sessions between Remy and his therapist, Alicia, cover information we already know, whether from Remy discussing it with someone else already, or we out and out experienced it with him. I understand why the author would want to include them and, as I already mentioned, they’re well done scenes. But they do feel repetitious.
Friendship. It can be and often is a lifesaver, in whatever sense you’d apply this truth. Remy has some friends that play the role of safe haven, mentally and physically. He experiences this vital part of life, of survival, from some unexpected sources, too.
I supposed we could’ve gone out, even to the aforementioned Ass-Pecs, but when it came down to it, games were more fun, and we could make hogs of ourselves with the Chex mix without anyone judging.
Boardgames do in fact rule.
Here’s something else: some might say that Remy’s vocabulary doesn’t read age typical. That’s your first mistake. Remy isn’t typical in many ways, including intelligence level, that’s one. And two, he is typical in that many young adults know and use those fifty cent words. And I appreciate it. Use whatchu got, don’t limit yourselves.
Remy is 18 and the entire world is now at his disposal, and that can be exhilarating and terrifying both. This fact definitely works to thwart his confidence in the things he thought to be absolute. It also does its thing in altering the prism through which he sees and feels and treats his relationships, and potential relationships.
Change is a bitch and she never lets you off the hook. Loved and loathed, she be.
Also, if I never read the word “suave” again, it’ll be too soon. :p
And how did I not know there are other books in this universe that feature some of the older characters from this story? I must find these.
This is a great story, and oftentimes difficult story. The characters are complicated and imperfect and worthy of love. I recommend this.
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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