This lovely YA/NA anthology holds five m/m romance stories about the lives and loves of young men trying to find out how to be true to themselves. The stories were all very different, some funny, some more heartfelt, but they were all such sweet and well-written tales about coming out and letting your best friend or neighbor long time crush know how you really feel.
In David by M. Tasia we get to meet David at his last day of high school, when his longtime boyfriend dumps him out of the blue. Depressed, he takes on a job remodeling a remote lake house for the summer. While slowly getting over the depression, David realizes that the person he misses the most isn’t actually his ex boyfriend, but his best friend, Jacob. So when Jacob pays him a surprise visit, David must carefully navigate his new feelings while trying to find out how Jacob feels about him without risking their friendship. This was such a sweet and heartwarming story about realizing that the thing you’ve wanted the most has been right under your nose the whole time, and how to risk it all for a chance of true love and happiness.
No Bunny Like You by Susan Mac Nicol was a funny and witty story, but it didn’t get me as invested in the characters as the others did. Colin has been checking his hot neighbor Dashiell out, spying on him dancing shirtless in his room, but has never worked up the nerve to talk to him. Not until Colin was assigned as the neighborhood Easter bunny and fell into the water while swooning over Dashiell and almost drowned. Only to be saved by the very reason for falling into the water… There were some parts of this story that didn’t really sit well with me, like the spying thing that came a bit too close to creepy stalking and the insta-love part. But those things set apart, it was an entertaining story with some really hilarious moments.
In Homecoming by Emily Mims, newcomer Clay is immediately drawn to his acting class mate Justin and can’t believe his luck when he’s gay and interested in him too. But complicated family dynamics put pressure on them both about keeping their feelings secret and obstructs their plans to go to homecoming together. This was one of my favorite stories, but I had some issues at first with the way Justin put pressure on Clay to come out. Forcing some one to come out is never okay, even if the reason for it is that you want the person to be proud of himself and for you to shout out to the world how much you love him. But the ending more than well made up for that, so all in all it was a sweet, heartwarming and hopeful story.
Hold The Line by Kitty Bardot was such a beautiful story about being loved for who you are, and for not underestimating the love and support from your friends. Terry is the defensive lineman, devoting his life on the field to protecting his best friend Chris, and his life outside it to hiding his secret crush on him. But when push comes to more than a shove, Chris gives Terry the greatest gift of all. My absolute favorite story of them all!
Shake Me Down by Elle Wright was a cute opposites-attract tale when the attraction between nerdy genius Zach is reciprocated by the new cool player Everett, who might not be as experienced as he likes everyone to believe… The romance felt a bit too fast and unrealistic to be as gripping as it could have been, but I’m always a fan of opposites-attract stories and the nerd getting the hot guy, so it was nevertheless a highly enjoyable read.
This was a very solid collection with stories that were all highly entertaining, yet all very different, and all with added depths or twists and with a wonderful flow. The only minor complaints I have are that the stories didn’t really feel like YA ones in the way they were written, they were more stories about young persons but for an older audience, and that the romances were a bit too instalove because of the short format.
But all in all, I truly enjoyed this anthology and the honest and heartwarming way it showed the challenges that, sadly, are still a reality for so many persons. All stories dealt with different aspects of the challenge to come out, but in a hopeful way that left you feeling warm at heart, and with characters to root for. Highly recommended!
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this lovely book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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Susan Mac Nicol
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard