Summer lovin’ gets a Southern twist in this addicting coming-of-age gay romance.
Ollie’s year is not turning out the way
he planned. First, his summer crush, Will, ghosts him and stops answering his
texts. Then his aunt’s cancer advances to such a critical stage that his parents
decide to relocate the family from San Jose to Collinswood, North Carolina, to
take care of her. Suddenly Ollie finds himself starting senior year at a new
school without friends, without his beloved band, but with Will, a varsity
basketball captain who not only isn’t out, but initially refuses to be seen
with him. Ollie just wants a fresh start, but Will makes that impossible, doing
everything from sitting at his table at lunch to transferring into his music
class. Watching the central lovers struggle to grow toward one another is just
one of the many pleasures offered by Gonzales’ (The Law of Inertia,
2018) second novel. The diverse supporting cast—particularly Ollie’s new trio
of female friends—is so richly characterized that readers will swear they bump
into these girls in the halls every day. Scenes between Ollie and Will are
tender and tense, complicating both boys’ emotional journeys authentically.
Sweet and tart in equal measure, this novel reminds us that legalizing gay
marriage didn’t necessarily make coming out in America any easier. Ollie is white; Will is Venezuelan American.
Poignant, piquant, and not to be missed. (Fiction.