elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Stepping Up to the Plate by J.M. Snyder

Stepping Up to the Plate is not an easy romance, since probably it’s not even a romance, or at least it’s not only a romance. When the story starts Stacy, the main character, is only 16 years old, but don’t think that this is making the novel a cute coming of age story: Stacy’s life is far from being cute or pretty or easy. He is a troubled kid, a working mum who loves her son but has not enough money, or courage, to pretend a better life for him; a step-dad who probably doesn’t like Stacy and would be more than glad to see him gone; a circle of friends that instead of helping him going through these difficult years is dragging him down. It’s probably only out of luck that Stacy ends only with leaving school.

Four years later a 20 years old Stacy is not much different: he is living with Lamar, but Lamar is not exactly his boyfriend; he has a crush on Ange, but neither Ange is exactly his boyfriend; he is having sex with both of them, and probably with other guys, but Stacy doesn’t see where that is wrong when all of them are fine and good. Sex is nothing more than a scratching an itch and even if he thinks that maybe he in love with Ange, Stacy doesn’t really know what love is. Moreover Stacy doesn’t have much self-esteem, so if people, or Lamar, is treating him like trash, maybe he is not so wrong, maybe he deserves nothing more.

But Ange, and Stacy’s mother, have not the same idea and they convince Stacy to get his GED and try to do something better in his life; if not for his immediately liking of the trade teacher, Darian, Stacy would have probably abandoned also this chance at a better life, but for once sex did something good for him. Darian is an Afro-American big guy who takes a liking for the scranny kid maybe since he wants to be for Stacy what his big brother was for him when he was that same age and needed direction. True, Darian’s feeling for Stacy are not exactly brotherly, but as I said this is not exactly a romance, so don’t expect a steamy story of sex between a student and his teacher: Darian has a better opinion of Stacy than Stacy himself. Darian uses sex as a carrot with an horses, he entices Stacy with it, but he has to do something good before being allowed to reach for it.

The story is very long and it’s all about Stacy; it’s a long journey, from being a kid to an adult, and Stacy is the right example of how sometime the school system is not able to save or comprehend the kids. Stacy is not particularly bad, he is not a criminal, but he is not even a diamond star, he is an average guy, with an average brighteness. Being in the middle, not bad, not good, he was almost forgotten and instead Stacy only need a little care and someone who believes in him. Darian is that man; I like him, he is good to Stacy, but probably I liked better Ange; unfortunately he was not the right man for Stacy, but nevertheless he was a wonderful character, and probably as generous as Darian, only with less chances to help Stacy.


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Tags: author: j.m. snyder, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review, theme: multicultural

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