Author: Anyta Sunday
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: MM Contemporary
Summary: Oskar used to be Marco’s best friend. His everything. His sunshine yellow.
But that was before. Before Marco stopped being a hot jock. Before he learned to live with scars and pain. And before Oskar tore their friendship apart.
Now the boy next door has returned home, determined to rekindle his friendship with Marco, and Marco’s more afraid than ever. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being humiliated.
Afraid of falling in love.
Can Oskar find a way through Marco’s fear, back into his heart?
Review: True Colors a standalone follow up to True Luck (originally known as Bottle Boys). I loved Bottle Boys and I wasn’t sure how this was going to fit. I was so happy to realize, it’s just as good.
Oskar and Marco were next door neighbor best friends, the closest kind, from childhood on. Eight years ago a terrible accident took the life of Marco’s mom and physically scarred Marco. They stayed close, Marco even sharing how his body looked after the accident, but a really wretched move on Oskar’s part ended all that. The families still live next door but for the past four years Oskar and Marco don’t have anything to do with each other, easier since Oskar moved away 15 months ago. Marco stepped in to be the big brother for Oskar’s sister, Zoe.
Marco’s mama used to have colors for the days. “A blue day, when she was sad. A green day when she felt hopeful. A pink day for her and papa’s anniversary.” The first color coding Marco has ever done was Oskar. Sunglow yellow. After Oskar’s betrayal, his color turns to “Now he’s rust. Dark, burnt-orange rust. A color to throw away.”
When it turns out that Oskar is moving home, Marco has to figure out how to deal with it, made even more difficult by the fact that the annual tradition of a play with the two families has Oskar and Marco playing former friends who are now enemies. Too close for comfort. Marco has a little melt down during one rehearsal, where the families get so mad or disappointed with him but I thought it was totally understandable. The thing is, it appears that no one really knows why they had a falling out and so this appears to be Marco behaving badly. It’s just so hard for him. “I’ll act alongside him,” I say. “But don’t be disappointed, Papa. We’re doing the tragic ending.”
While the story sometimes has a bittersweet feel to it – lost friendship, survivor’s guilt – it isn’t angst-ridden. When Oskar’s bad behavior is revealed, in pieces, you want to just hug Marco and make sure he’s okay. Oskar stole so much from Marco that day. The bullies didn’t hurt Marco nearly as much as Oskar did.
Marco has great friends in Elena and Ben, even though he’s not out to any of them yet. I felt for him as Papa was talking about how hard it was for Oskar’s parents that Oskar is gay, knowing that he wants to tell Papa and can’t. I was a little confused about how old Marco and Oskar are supposed to be. It seems like college age, but sometimes it felt like what happened at camp was when they were very young, yet they’ve been apart four years.
Anyta Sunday has a flowing, lyrical way of writing that makes you see the characters, flaws and all, in a way that allows a connection with them. Even when they make you want to shake them. There were times I wanted Marco to say no to Oskar’s overtures, don’t be friends, don’t forgive, don’t, don’t, don’t. Because I was irritated that not only did Oskar hurt Marco in the past, but he comes back home following a boyfriend, Jessie. Now he’s hurting another person and I didn’t like him for that. But that’s not very mature of me, so I’m glad Marco didn’t agree.
In the end, I loved reading this, a friends to enemies to lovers story. Oskar is never going to be my favorite (Marco forgave him way before I did) but I liked the journey and I have hope Marco and Oskar will be happy. And when Opa finally speaks? It was a precious gift.