Amy Lane – Shiny

shiny

Author: Amy Lane
Reviewed by: Yvonne
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN 13:  9781627986557

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia are both having sort of a day. Will gets fired for letting fifth graders read Harry Potter, and Kenny finds his boyfriend and his sex toys in bed with a complete stranger. When Will knocks over Kenny’s trash can—and strews Kenny’s personal business all over the street—it feels like the perfect craptastic climax to the sewage of suckage that has rained down on them both.

But ever-friendly, ever-kind Will asks snarky Kenny out for a beer—God knows they both need one—and two amazing things occur: Kenny discovers talking to Will might be the best form of intercourse ever, and Will discovers he’s gay.

Their unlikely friendship seems like the perfect platonic match until Will reveals how very much more he’s been feeling for Kenny almost since the beginning. But Kenny’s worried. Will’s new-found sexuality is bright and glittery and shiny, but what happens when that wears off? Is Will’s infatuation with Kenny strong enough to stay real?

Review:  Amy Lane has more than earned her moniker as the queen of angst in m/m stories. She seemed to have never met two boys in love who she couldn’t make endlessly & exhaustingly suffer through some deep, disturbing trauma, but here she shows remarkable restraint in this story about an arty, techie party boy who finally gets to meet and fall for the boy next door. Not only is this not her normal angst fest but this one was downright sunny. So much so I swear I could almost hear that ‘Happy’ song in the background as I was reading.

The story begins at a wedding for friends where we first meet Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia. The guest of honor at the wedding asks Will and Kenny how did the pair of them end up together and through a series of flashbacks we’re told their love story. Flashbacks is not my favorite method of storytelling and this one had the added factor of too much over sharing so I would have preferred a more straight forward storyline.

How Will & Kenny meet up is after Kenny comes home to find his faithful boyfriend is not so faithful, he ends up throwing out his excessive amounts of personal things and sex toys in the street. Will Lafferty is also having a bad day and is not paying attention when he runs into a garbage can containing all of Kenny’s toys. He finds himself fascinated by the shiny objects and the shiny Will and a friendship is born.

It’s all very movie script sweet and amusing. Kenny is a really nice guy even if I think his naivité is overplayed and over done. The fact that he’s never wondered before about his sexuality is also not remotely realistic. But again, he’s adorably so sweet that you want to overlook that part.

The story unfolds as we watch Will and Kenny go from a nice friendship and working relationship to realizing that each of them has feelings for the other. There’s a slight misunderstanding about this that keeps them in the friend zone for longer than they should have been but this gives them time to build up the relationship and keeps the story at a nice pace.

There’s no instant love here to grumble about. In fact, this story throws away a lot of the more irritating m/m conventions. For instance, the two protagonists are not movie star handsome and perfect and the misunderstanding between the two don’t go on to the point of misery. Someone has been paying attention to m/m reader’s complaints.

The one flaw I do see is that sometimes Kenny came across as excessively pushy about what Will should do with his life. He kept insisting that Will shouldn’t or couldn’t be a teacher presumably because he was gay. I thought Kenny should have taken a more supportive role of being there in case things don’t work out instead of advising Will aggressively to quit his job.

In the real world this would raise a lot of red flags about the relationship. But in this story, Will just gives up his dreams as if he never heard of applying to teach in a less conservative area or moving. There are gay teachers around who still have their jobs so acting like it was impossible was a little irritating. This was enough to keep me from seeing this as a perfect story as Kenny as a partner should not be making Will’s career choices for him.

That takes this to more of a B level instead of an A level story. Still it’s quite good and almost feels like a love letter from Amy Lane to her fans who’ve been clamoring for a much lighter feel good love story and she delivers on this one.

 

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