February 3rd, 2012

andrew potter

After Anna by Theda Black

Will has just lost his lover Anna: she was a drug addicted and died for an overdose. Will, being a cop, is eaten alive by guilty.

The book makes a count of the days after Anna's death and we see Will's journey out of depression, in a state of almost euphoria and step by step in an apparent normality. Along with him, for all his journey, there is Tyler, Will's cop partner. Will knows and understands that Tyler has feeling for him, and also Will has some indefinite feelings for Tyler.

But this is not our typical romance where two friends finally admitt they are in love and walking together to a roses and flowers happily ever after ending...

After Anna is not an erotic romance: sex is only a way to prove something in the story, but not the main aspect and sex is not written for pleasure. Sometimes sex in this book is all than pleasure: is guiltiness, is forbidden desires, is unspeakable words. Will accuses Tyler to not "speak" the words, and Tyler says "I proves them to you"... through sex.

In this book there isn't a dominant character. Even if Tyler is the man in love, he is not the weaker of the two. And told be truth, I don't think that neither Tyler or Will are gay. I think they are in love with each other, but it's more a thing of heart than body; maybe it's a very strong friendship that shapes in love when Will needs more a lover than a friend beside him.

After Anna is not an usual romance, and I think not all the romance's readers could understand it. And I think it's also a book that could appeal to a not romance's reader. It's not very long, less than 80 pages, and maybe I'd like to be longer, so maybe I'd be able to understand better both Will and Tyler and their reasons. But kudos to Theda Black to have chosen a not easy way to deal and end this one.

Amazon Kindle: After Anna
Publisher: TKB Books; 2nd edition (January 25, 2012)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

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