Of course, if the target of this novel is indeed a young adult reader, then maybe having an adult fall in love for an underage kid can be controversial; well, you need to consider that, more or less at the beginning of the story, the author explains that 17 years old in the Old West was not being a kid, but for the sake of the plot, the two twins had to be under guardianship; plus while 27 years old Calico has always lived his adult life in the Frontier, and so not really having much chances to be in contact with women, 17 years old Josh is from Chicago, a big city even at the time. So where someone could question Calico’s preferences for men (he has not really many choices), Josh is way more ahead in his sexual maturity; now I’m not saying he is experienced, far from it, I’m saying he seems to be more self-conscious.
There is really not many discussion on the “I prefer boys, do you?” theme, it’s more or less a mutual acknowledgment: Calico simply asks Josh if he has left a girlfriend behind and Josh says no, expressing little interest in girls, and replying with a “like you” to Calico; that is all, that is all they need to know about each other. To Josh’s not so hidden attempts, Calico kindly resists, not really until Josh is 18 years old, but more until they are both safe. Again, Calico’s acknowledgment that now he has no more reasons to refuse Josh is kind, and Josh is satisfied with the certainty that, once they will be safe, he will have the one he desires.
The story is more about the “travel”, the slowly but steadily building of trust between Calico and Josh, than about the target; the outside threat, and its removal, is important since it serves to give a reason to Calico and Josh to spend time together, but it could have been anything else, and for that reason I don’t think the author put much effort in making it dangerous or mysterious.
Amazon Kindle: Calico
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Zumaya Publications, LLC (October 2, 2006)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott