elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Best LGBT Coming of Age / Young Adult (2° place): Mesmerized by David-Matthew Barnes

I should probably start this alerting reader that this is a Young Adult novel, more on the end side of the teen years than the start one, but in any case right for a YA target; this is the reason why, even if the characters are 18 and ready to start with their adult life, the mood of the story is “innocent”, fresh and clean. For example, they talk about sex, some of the characters is “rumoured” to have sex, but actually there is no sex at all in the story.

The first point of view is that of Serena, 18 years old and with a huge guilty sense: she was the perfect daughter, with good rates at school and with a bright future in front of her, a scholarship and all; but when her brother needs her, when he told her he was gay, she freaked out, and didn’t support him. Her parents had a similar attitude, they didn’t disown their son, but they also wanted to put an indifferent face, maybe hoping that was a phase. The boy was probably starving for support, for a friendly shoulder and he searched it in a community centre for LGBT youth, the same center out of which he was killed in a gay bashing.

Now Serena, and her family, need to cope with it and it changed completely their life. Serena is preparing for college but at the same time is searching for absolution; since her brother cannot give it, she searches it in Brodie, the gay kid at school. Brodie is in the closet and no one other than Serena guessed his secret. Brodie is young and cute, he wants to be an artist but he comes from a very conservative family. At the beginning of the novel he meets Lance, 2 years older and in college and they start a relationship with the help and support of Serena. As I said before the concept of “relationship” is very innocent, basically Brodie and Lance are boyfriend and their bond is deepened by their decision to take part to a dance contest.

There are all the usual milestone for a gay teenager in the novel: coming out to friends and family, trying to understand what they want to be in the future, facing the challenge of being alone against the world… but in Mesmerized all these issues are faced and coped, and Brodie and Lance are heading together towards the horizon, crowned by a wonderful rainbow. Mesmerized wants to make people aware it’s not easy, but also that it’s not impossible, and even if you are gay, and young, and alone, you have the same chance of you best girlfriend to find a boyfriend and be happy.


Amazon: Mesmerized
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602821917
ISBN-13: 978-1602821910

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: david-matthew barnes, genre: contemporary, length: novel, rainbow awards 2011, theme: coming of age

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