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September 2013

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My New Review Column! Are you WITH ME OR WITHOUT ME?

As I continue to toil on a comedy spec script under the harsh whip of my television writing partner (aka Fantine’s foreman in Les Miz), and begin prep work on a new novel project (i.e. scramble for something else to write), I’ve been making time to catch up on some Young Adult novels and theatrical releases (aka procrastinating on the writing projects).

This has prompted me to decide to write reviews of books and movies and post them here, hopefully, on a regular basis (because a blog without any content is like an octogenarian male without Viagra). If your novel or film doesn’t make it onto my blog, have no fear. It doesn’t mean I thought it sucked or anything (even though it might). More than likely it just means I’m pressed for time and will be squeezing in these reviews when I can (I can’t even type the latter with a straight face).

Have no fear. I will endeavor to keep my reviews Spoiler Free…unless the material is so absolutely atrocious I feel it is my sacred duty to help you save your hard earned cash.

First up, Brian Farrey’s new Young Adult novel, With or Without You.

I’m happy to report, I was With Him, all the way!

The basic premise revolves around recent Wisconsin High School grads Evan and his best childhood friend Davis, long time victims of homophobic bullying. Unbeknownst to Davis, as well as Evan’s family, is the existence of Evan’s boyfriend, Erik, an artistic, sexy, compassionate man who represents all of Evan’s dreams—and insecurities.

When Evan and Davis are approached to join a clandestine group which promises to give them the strength to fight back against the duo’s oppressors, known ominously as The Chasers, it sets about a dramatic chain of events that forever alters the bonds of friendship, family, and romantic commitment, as the characters struggle with cutting loose from their past in order to have a chance at altering their destinies.

Mr. Farrey has crafted a tale that not only demonstrates a fascinating character study, but also illustrates the dichotomy of coping mechanisms for bullying, differing family dynamics, touches upon gay history in the United States, as well as the arts, and provides one of the most romantic and realistic relationships in current Young Adult novels, which also happens to be the type of pairing that, unfortunately, still does not get the exposure it so richly deserves in Young Adult literature, i.e. the same gender romantic relationship between Evan and his boyfriend, Erik.

Side note to Industry: It’s the 21st Century. Not only do gay teens enjoy reading Boy/Boy romance, but heterosexual teen girls do, too! GLEE anyone? But I digress.

The novel’s prose is crisp, concise, and the story is cleverly framed like an art piece in descriptions of Evan’s glass paintings, childhood flashbacks, and hilarious news headlines, that serve to augment the power of the present story quite effectively.

I promised I wouldn’t give away any spoilers, but let’s just say by the time you find out what The Chasers really represent with their insidious agenda, you’ll be white-knuckling it all the way to the climax (uh…the Book’s climax, Naughty Reader ;-), as you stress out about the fates of the main characters.

A sign of a captivating tale (not to be confused with captivating tail) is that it leaves you wanting to find out more about the characters’ lives even after the story is over. With or Without You accomplishes this in spades. It’s haunting, and profoundly resonating. Definitely looking forward to Mr. Farrey’s next novel!

So, in a nutshell, I guess what I’m saying is get thee to a bookstore pronto, People, or order a hard copy through Amazon, or Wi-Fi this sucker through Kindle, (or any other legal way where you actually have to pay the author his well-deserved cut) ASAP! After all, wouldn’t you rather be reading a really good book than this review? Here's a convenient link. www.amazon.com/Without-You-Brian-Farrey/dp/1442406992/ref=sr_1_1  And, no, you can't charge it on my account!

Next up, not sure if I’ll be reviewing another book, or maybe a movie. Yeah, maybe this weekend. A little thing called SUPER 8 (No, it’s NOT a porn, Gutter Rats!) I warn you, if one of those people in the audience decides to text, place phone calls, or didn’t hire a babysitter for their screeching infant, there’s gonna be HELL TO PAY!


Comments

I love the idea of story reviews!

I've always enjoyed hearing your take on movies and books ... in fact, I think my husband's sick of hearing "Steven think this movie ..."

I can't wait to have more access to your thoughts (maybe to make my husband jealous?) :)