Author: Dakota Chase
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 01/24/2017
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance, Young Adult
Jamie doesn’t know how he’d face life without his best friend, Billy, even though they don’t seem to have much in common. Billy is out and proud while Jamie is still in the closet. Billy’s family has plenty of money to keep him outfitted in the latest styles, while Jamie has a jerk of a stepfather and a miserable home life. Billy goes on glamorous dates with sexy older guys, while Jamie is lonely and secretly pining for one of his high school’s star athletes.
Just as he expected, Jamie is lost when Billy starts keeping secrets from him. Jamie’s reached his limit at home, where his stepfather’s abuse is getting worse. At school he’s roped into tutoring his crush, Dylan, in English, but Jamie has no idea how to talk to the hot track runner. Just when he most needs Billy to lean on, Jamie discovers Billy is bug chasing—trying to catch HIV. The knowledge not only destroys their friendship, but forces Jamie to reassess his entire life. It’s up to him to protect Billy, stay on top of things at school, deal with his first relationship with another boy, and put a stop to his stepdad’s mistreatment for good.
Sometimes a book can have a great message but get lost in the plot of the main characters. This book deals with a powerful subject—bug chasers. Bug chasers are men who seek out HIV positive men in order to get infected.
In Changing Jamie it’s the main character’s best friend, Billy, who is the chaser, but it’s more of a subplot. The main plot is high schooler Billy dealing with his shitty home life and crush on jock Dylan.
The romance between Billy and Dylan is sweet if not somewhat on the clichéd side. I did like how it was Dylan who sought out spending time with Billy when the trope usually happens the other way around.
As much as I like the subject of bug chasers being dealt with I wasn’t crazy with how it handled here. It was presented as a little over the top at some point but better that than it not being dealt with at all. I would hope that actual teenagers read this book and see the consequences.
This was an enjoyable read if not terribly different than a lot of what is out there in the YA market.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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