The books in the Tales From Foster High series have been on my to-be-read pile for quite some time. I always found a reason to postpone reading them, however. Now that I have read/listened to Tales From Foster High (which includes books 1 – 3 of the series), I can’t for the life of me figure out WHY I waited so long.
Title: Tales from Foster High
Author: John Goode
Narrator: Michael Stellman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Kyle Stilleno is the invisible student, toiling through high school in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Brad Greymark is the baseball star of Foster High. When they bond over their mutual damage during a night of history tutoring, Kyle thinks maybe his life has changed for good. But the promise of fairy-tale love is a lie when you’re gay and falling for the most popular boy in school. A coming of age story in the same vein of John Hughes, Tales from Foster High shows an unflinching vision of the ups and downs of teenage love and what it is like to grow up gay.
On the surface, Brad and Kyle couldn’t be more different. Brad is popular; Kyle is invisible. Brad is a “have”; Kyle is a “have-not”. Brad is straight; Kyle is… no one cares. Once they get together, however, you find out that life may not be so perfect for either one of them. Tales from Foster High looks at a budding high school romance in a manner akin to the famous John Hughes films of the 80s (with several relevant references included for good measure).
While certainly fiction, Goode gives a fairly realistic look at high school in small town Texas in the time period depicted. (And yes, I can say that because I WENT to high school in small town Texas in a semblance of the time period depicted). Kyle and Brad don’t just get together and live happily ever after. They have to deal with bullies and homophobic peers and bigoted teachers/school officials. But they also find friends and allies in places they didn’t think they would. Kyle has a hard time accepting that Brad does want to be with him. Brad has a hard time accepting that his life as he knows it is over.
The first chapter (formerly the novella Maybe with a Chance of Certainty) is told from Brad’s first person point-of-view. The second chapter (formerly the novella End of the Beginning) is told entirely from Brad’s first person point of view. Finally, in the 3rd Chapter (formerly the novella Raise Your Glass) we get alternating points of view. All resulting in a balanced view of each teen’s struggle with friends, family, and each other.
Much of this book, I was thinking it was going to be getting 5 full stars. It lost a little bit in the end with a little too much predictability in the plot surrounding the school board scene. It was well written, just didn’t leave me enthralled the way the rest of the story did.
When reading a book for the first time via audio, the narrator can make or break a story. This was my first time listening to a Michael Stellman narrated book, however, I sincerely hope he narrates the rest of the series. Yes, you can take that to mean I want to rest of this series on audio!
His voice was perfect for my vision of Brad and Kyle. While he didn’t take undo effort to differentiate every character’s voice, there was enough inflection variations that you didn’t lose who was speaking. In all honesty, his voice disappeared and let the story shine.
Now I have a dilemma… Do I wait for End of Innocence to make it to audio, or add it to my TBR now and just read the eBook version? I just can’t make myself wait, so I will be going with the later option.
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the audio version 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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