Author: Eli Easton
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Genre: M/M Young Adult
ISBN 13: 9781627980005
Summary: It’s not easy for a young gay artist like Jordan Carson to grow up in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where all anyone seems to care about in middle school and high school are the sports teams. But Jordan was lucky. He met Owen Nelson in the second grade, and they’ve been BFFs ever since. Owen is a big, beautiful blond and their school’s champion wrestler. No one messes with Owen, or with anyone close to him, and he bucks popular opinion by keeping Jordan as his wingman even after Jordan comes out at school.
Their friendship survives, but Jordan’s worst enemy may be himself: he can’t seem to help the fact that he is head-over-heels in love with a hopeless case—his straight friend, Owen. Owen won’t let anything take Jordan’s friendship away, but he never counted on Jordan running off to find a life of his own. Owen will have to face the nature of their relationship if he’s to win Jordan back.
Review: The story of Jordy and Owen, best friends since second grade, is told in alternating first person point of view. It begins with Jordy’s dreams for himself. He wants to be a famous comic book artist and work for DC, travel the world signing autographs and oh yes, maybe have Owe as a boyfriend.
Owen is a wrestler from a family of wrestlers and he’s very, very good at it. Owen is also a decent, kind person. When Jordy and Owen met in the second grade, Jordy was fascinated and lured Owen into liking him with his cool Matchbox cars and a friendship was born. As they progress through childhood, some things become clear. Owen is destined for wrestling greatness (top ranked wrestler in his division statewide by sixth grade) and Jordy has artistic talent. Sixth grade was the year that their comic, Pin Man and Pencil Boy, was born. Owen writes it, Jordy illustrates it. There is a point in the book where the comic is described and my thought was – I want to SEE it!
There is a point when the two are in seventh grade that Jordy forgets himself and kisses Owen in the pool. It is at this point Owen very seriously tells Jordy he must never, ever do that again, but Owen makes the effort to let Jordy know they are still best friends. Jordy is okay with that, he just wants to be with Owen.
This book isn’t all lightness. There is a part when the story of Raymond Toleman comes up and I have to say – I cried my head off. It’s so real life and it’s so sad and it just made my heart hurt. I was thankful to see that it made Owen’s heart hurt as well. Too little, too late, but at least something positive could come out of Raymond’s story.
During the course of high school Owen gets ever better at wrestling, Jordy gets ever better with his art, and Owen gets a girlfriend, a sparky, sarcastic girl named Emily. Emily is a great character and much as Jordy wants to hate her, he can’t. Emily is a good one. Emily also gets to see the look of love on Jordy’s face once and while she looks at him with pity, she doesn’t tease him with it or make anything awkward. I liked that about her.
When Jordy decides to out himself at school, it doesn’t happen exactly the way he had planned. Owen sticks by him in the face of his parents wanting him to distance himself (hurts your wresting career, Owen) and his teammates being jerks. He is with Emily and he’s staying friends with Jordy.
Jordy, though, he’s coming to realize he needs to have a life, a sex life at least! He’s got to put the “for sale” sign out there (that made me laugh). And as he does this, things start to change. The book is a young adult and there is some sex in it – not a lot, but a little – and the sex that’s there is integral to the story.
I wavered a little bit on the rating of this book – definitely was going to be high because I loved it but what made it a 5 is the voice of Jordy. He is an artist, funny and sweet, with inner thoughts that just made me smile with him, be sad with him, pine with him. It’s such an interesting coming of age story and I highly recommend it.