Having missed posting for June, I thought I’d take a step up and actually BUY a new book and read a 2015 RITA nominee for this month’s Challenge. Not only did I buy a new book but I bought an Ebook – a rarity for luddite me who has yet to embrace digital novel reading. And I have ventured into reading an m/m romance which is also a rarity for me (I had read about 3-4 titles).
I decided to read Fever Pitch because I liked the cover art more than any other RITA covers. I am easily swayed by an awesome cover. I love the clean, funky lines of this cover. I also think the guy looks gorgeous. I’m a fan of the well-dressed man on romance covers (I cannot bear/bare shirtless manmeat covers – yech!). Having read the first chapter, I was sold. I downloaded the book and read the book in one straight sitting. No lunch, no stand up and stretch, no tweeting, no breaks, nothing but reading. It was that good.
The story is about two young men and their first year at college. They had a hook-up in high school. Giles was openly gay but Aaron was still struggling to come to terms with his difficult family life as well as trying to decide how to navigate his own coming out. When Aaron follows Giles to his college, they become awkward with each other and this is where the reader is taken to the familiar tensions of “Does he/doesn’t he like me” that is typical for 18 year olds. But add some extra problems to these young adults such as the difficulties of finding a safe place where they won’t be beaten up for their sexual orientation, negotiating coming out to your parents, to your friends, being surrounded by homophobic proselytisers.
I spent much of my reading in tears, the third point of view telling allowing me to enter Giles and Aaron’s heart aches and mental struggles. I loved the depiction of friendship and community, particularly in supporting those whose families cut them off or harm them once they have come out. The romance was beautifully orchestrated with deeply personal obstacles, feelings of worthiness and vulnerability strong throughout the book. The sex scenes were quite explicit but they were integral to driving the plot forward and at no stage did I feel as though they were gratuitously plonked into a story (which sadly is rather common in some more erotically inclined romances).
I loved this contemporary romance filled with angst, love and melodrama (oh – how I love melodrama). I was surprised though that the love resolution occurred just over half way through the story. The rest of the book was dealing with the fall out of Aaron’s coming out as well as his change of major to his far from understanding parents.
The thing that did stand out for me was that right at the end, while at the wedding of another couple, Giles and Aaron are considering marriage. All I could think was “But they are only 18!”. I felt that, I would be surprised if an f/m romance had 18 year old protagonists considering marriage and I think I prefer an HFN, and I felt that these two young men were much more suited to having a Happy For Now ending too. Perhaps I need to read more m/m romances and learn more about them and I am missing something that readers familiar which LGBT contemporary romance already know. I am guessing that the marriage-in-the horizon ending is a sign of same-sex marriage movement. This is not really a criticism but more a reflection. Overall, my heart was deeply touched by this gorgeous romance.
As mentioned above, I purchased my copy of my book online. Sadly, there is no library in Australia that currently holds a digital or a print copy of this book. I recommend readers fill out those purchase suggestion slips.