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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Jamie Peterson's final year of high school is nearly over and the closer the final day comes, the more he realizes a truth about himself that everyone around him seems to already know: he is falling for his best friend. And though everyone is pushing to confess his feelings, he's so terrified of losing the amazing friendship he has with Mason (or worse, having Mason be completely disgusted with the idea) to work up the guts to come out. Will he overcome his fears or will he keep his feelings hidden?
Jamie is quite possibly the most adorable YA male ever. This guy is so sweet and caring, but still manages to be strong enough to stand up for what he thinks is right. He's smart and nice and WE NEED MORE LIKE HIM! He's that guy in school who isn't overly popular, but is friends with everyone. He remembers your name and asks how you are, really interested in the answer. He spends an large amount of home time watching his twin little sisters but doesn't show any resentment for being forced into babysitting mode. He's actually nice and respectful to his mom and he's stepdad isn't a dick. And he's a completely normal guy. I see a lot of stereotypical, flamboyant gay guy characters, but Jamie is just Jamie. He's not dressing up in mommy's pumps when she's not looking or hiding barbie dolls in his room. He's a normal guy who just happens to think other guys are hot.
Mason is a character we don't see as clearly because this is told all via Jamie's eyes, but he seems just as sweet as Jamie. It's also quite obvious that he knows Jamie's little secret. Their relationship is the stuff dreams are made of, both before and after the truth is revealed. He's life is a little harder than Jamie's, with a overbearing Hispanic father and that drive to study and be as smart as possible...leading him to be named salutatorian. He does a few stupid things, but he's just as great as Jamie. I'd love to have a few chapters from his side.
Something that really shines in this novel (besides the adorable leading man) is the plethora of side characters. Jamie's mom is surprisingly sweet and supportive of him. She's 100% okay with having a gay son and always proud of him for his achievements. She might be a bit over-enthusiastic about her son's homosexuality, always asking when he is going to bring a special someone home to meet her. Then there are the art geek girls, Eden and Challis, who are so awesome there aren't words. Jamie really connects with Eden and confides a lot in her throughout the novel, secrets that may or may not get him in trouble later. But all the side characters felt just a real and fleshed out as Jamie and Mason did...except maybe Jamie's stepdad, but that's mostly because we don't see much of him.
The plot is this is pretty simple, boy likes boy and all the drama that goes with that, but it's execution was what made it amazing. Sarah Tregay has a enormous talent of bringing her characters to life and forcing her audience to empathize with them. I wanted Jamie to win Mason's heart so badly I wanted to walk into his high school and do it for him. I wanted Mason to reciprocate Jamie's feelings that it was more than a little difficult to keep from reading the last few pages to make sure this ended well. Because, let me tell you, had I got the end and Mason had been disgusted with Jamie or rejected him, I would be writing a very different type of review right now.
As it is, this was a perfect novel. It has just enough heart, humor, and angst to keep me happily on the edge of my seat, waiting for Jamie to come out and to see how Mason takes it. I must say the ending is perfect as well. It has that realistically perfect quality that seems to satisfy me like nothing else. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an unorthodox love story about two boys just waiting for the right moment!
****Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****