elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Best Gay Coming of Age/Young Adult (1° place): Summer Song by Louise Blaydon

I know I was expecting a lot from this novel, after all it was the Dark Horse of the Rainbow Awards, winning first place in the Coming of Age/Young Adult category when more or less no one even knew the story was out, but what I was not expecting for it is to be sweet, tender and yes, even a bit sexy.

First of all the story is pretty complex on the writing style field. The author decided to tell it from 4 different points of view, all in first person. Only that 3 of them, best friends Christopher “Kit” and Billy, and Kit’s girlfriend Caitlyn “Lyn”, tell the story like their thoughts are brainstorming in their mind, while Leonard “Lenny”, the new kid in town, is writing a journal. Plus the story starts at the beginning of the year school, with Kit wondering why Billy seems to be surprised, and even a bit scared, by the new kid in the school, Lenny, to then flashbacking three months before, in June, when Lenny is moving from Massachussetts to California to spend the summer with his maternal grandparents.

Kit is obviously jealous of the tight relationship Billy and Lenny developed during the summer, probably even more since he was not there to witness it; Kit spent the summer with his own grandparents, and he left a best friend, Billy, who was almost like a brother and who was telling him everything, to come back to an almost stranger, a Billy that is not even able to tell him that he has a new friend. Yes, Kit is jealous, but even if he wonders if this jealousy means something else, Kit is in love with Lyn, and that is not something he is questioning. What he is questioning, and what makes him angry, is that Billy is no more able to consider him a trusted friend, Billy is no more coming to him to share his soul, he is probably going to the other boy, the new kid, one that has no right over Billy since Kit was there before him.

That was how the story was developing at first, more about the friendship between Kit and Billy and how they were trying to save it; but then it suddenly moved to Billy and Lenny, and how they were instead trying to understand what was happenning between them. The time is the 1955, and it’s not that being gay is something common, let alone in a small town in California. There is no one they can talk to, and while Billy has some experiences with girls, Lenny has neither that, and so they are flumbling around, trying to understand what is good and what is right, what they like and what they don’t.

As I said I was surprised by the “light” undertone of the story; it’s not that the author forgot that being gay was illegal in 1955, it’s only that she decided to not weight it on these boys, letting them living their summer, and then year school, love affair. Truth be told, at the beginning, I had the feeling of reading a man on man version of “Grease”, with Billy in the role of a very surprised Danny Zucco who finds out that Sandy has not gone back to Australia. But Billy is more honest, and probably more in love, than the hero of Grease, and in no way he can deny Lenny’s existence or his love for him.

Summer Love is a very romantic story, and if you, like me, were worried of reading of a same sex love in the 1955, don’t worry, in this case love is stronger than anything else.


Amazon: Summer Song

Amazon Kindle: Summer Song

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: louise blaydon, genre: contemporary, length: novel, rainbow awards 2010, review, theme: coming of age, theme: virgins

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