A drama filled gay contemporary we can all learn from.
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT
No. of pages: 300
Kyle Stilleno is no longer the invisible boy, and he doesn’t quite know how he feels about it. On one hand, he now has a great boyfriend, Brad Greymark, and a handful of new friends, and even a new job. On the other hand, no one screamed obscenities at him in public when he was invisible.
No one expected him to become a poster boy for gay rights, either—at least not until Kyle stepped out of the closet and into the limelight. But there are only a few months of high school left, and Kyle doubts he can make a difference.
With Christmas break drawing closer, Kyle and Brad are changing their lives to include each other. While the trials are far from over, they have their relationship to lean on. Others are not so lucky. One of their classmates needs their help—but Kyle and Brad’s relationship may be too new to survive the strain.
After falling in love with the angsty bind-up or the first three books in this series, all the drama that the two protagonists Kyle and Brad face, I went out and purchased the rest of the books in this collection. I’m anticipating more challenges and a strong foundation to grow with this couple. I look forward to a collection of contemporary stories following a gay couple, as I’ve pretty much only read standalones. Usually series fall into the fantasy genre. I wanted real-life issues and a positive long-lasting relationship. And that is what Tales From Foster High has continued to deliver with this fourth instalment ‘End of the Innocence.’
I must admit, I was very disappointed with the first half of this book. The characters seemed to have gone backward and acting in unexpected ways. It was also blindingly obvious that the authors hand was guiding the story in the direction he wanted it to go. Nothing felt organic and I felt crushed.
Then in the last half things got better, Kyle and Brad got their old spark back, and I found some chemistry with the narrative. It still had a forced tone about it, like author was using the story to highlight a cause and opinions around it.
There was a lot of repetition of ‘I love you’s’ and ‘it gets better,’ which became mildly annoying. But the couple were endearingly clueless and cute at the same time. The continual switching of perspective between Kyle and Brad didn’t really add much – I felt it disarmed some great storytelling devices to build up tension and drive the story forward. As a reader I like to be kept guessing – having the answers laid out for me, of what was going on in each of their heads all the time deflated some of the angst I’ve come to expect from this series.
I like how it wasn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows. Mainly because it revolved around a cause – and this therein lies my difficulty with ‘End of the Innocence.’ On the one hand, it came off as preachy and totally did not fit the Kyle and Brad story so far. Characters out of context. But on the other, once I got over that hurdle and the story got going, it was bloody brilliant. There are some important things brought up in the narrative facing gay youth and I liked the way it’s introduced, discussed, and handled.
It brought up things like bullying and suicide, and how to approach these in a way other than violence – which was amazing to read. There is even a little more in the author’s note at the back of the book as to why these topics were discussed.
So while I commend this book for the issues it tackles, and applaud actually spelling out ways to combat it; I felt the story as a whole was a little disjointed. So far it is my least favourite of the series, but gives the best support for issues faced by some gay youth.
I’d only recommend this for those who strongly connect with the material, or fans of the series.
Overall feeling: mmmmokay…
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