Kim Flowers – My Secret Pain


Author: Kim Flowers
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Genre: M/M Young Adult
ISBN 13:   9781611529388

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:  Senior Dustin Ericson and his best friend Kadie have an unspoken agreement to never reveal they are gay. Dustin recently broke a school record in tennis and enjoys a new rise in popularity, but he’s still afraid of what everyone else would think if they knew the truth about who he is.

When Dustin gets asked to a prom after-party by Ryan, the guy he’s had a crush on since junior high, he can’t refuse. Ryan thinks Dustin and Kadie are dating, but Kadie refuses to be Dustin’s prom date until Dustin tells her Ryan is bringing Alyssa to prom … the girl Kadie has a crush on.

Dustin and Kadie plan the perfect date, including all of Ryan and Alyssa’s favorite food, music, even colors. Sometimes Dustin wonders if he is normal, and sort of feels like a stalker when he realizes he knows a lot more about Ryan than Ryan knows about him.

But prom night doesn’t go well at all. Dustin drives with Kadie in the passenger seat while Ryan and Alyssa tear each other’s clothes off in the back. Dustin feels ashamed he could have imagined making out with Ryan instead. He hates having to hide who he is, and Kadie feels the same. Will things ever get better? 

Review: Dustin is a great tennis player and he’s moved into the realm of popular because of his sport.  He has an awesome best friend, Kadie.  He also has a hidden crush on another senior, basketball player Ryan.   No one knows about his feelings except his best friend since second grade, Kadie, who is herself gay.  The two are loyal and love each other in that best of friends way and I was so glad that they had each other.   While Dustin longs for Ryan, Kadie longs for Ryan’s girlfriend, Alyssa. 

When Ryan innocently invites Dustin to a party after prom he assumes Dustin and Kadie are dating.  It’s so sad to see Dustin and Kadie plan this perfect prom date in order to woo two people who just aren’t interested in them the way they want.  It’s a little bittersweet to see that despite their wanting, their wishes, their hopes; some things aren’t going to go your way.  It is more a matter of what you hope to see than what is actually there.  

I loved the ending conversation between Dustin and Kadie and wanted to hug them and tell them it does get better.


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