Ketchum extends her skein of interrelated novels (which she wrote as Liza Ketchum Murrow) with this earnest, heartfelt sequel to Twelve Days in August (1993). Deeply disturbed by a bully's sneering insinuations of his homosexuality, and unable to take comfort in the friends he still has, Alex jumps at the chance to move back to California, hoping to track down his best buddy, Tito Perone, and recapture those idyllic days of sun, surf, and big plans. Puzzled by the suddenness with which Tito has fallen out of touch, and by the Perone family's hostility, Alex roams Venice Beach gathering clues, and finds Tito at last--living with a man and still recovering from the vicious beating his father had given him when he came out of the closet. The shock crumbles Alex's inner defenses, and he admits to himself that he, too, is gay. Readers, observing his fearful reaction to the bullying, and the sharp attention he pays to other men's bodies, will not be surprised by the revelation, but will understand Alex's previous reluctance to probe the source of his unhappiness, and his vast relief as well. Alex--tall, blond, athletic, artistic, and given to strong feelings and emotional reactions--would be larger than life except for a reckless streak that almost gets him killed racing a brushfire, but that makes it possible for him to come out to his twin sister, friends, and (realistically dismayed, but unconditionally loving) parents. Intense and rewarding.