Title: A Good Enough Reason
Author: C.M. Lievens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 23rd 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary YA
Page Count: 220 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.7 stars out of 5
High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.
Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.
As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.
But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?
I went into this story fully prepared. I knew that C.M. Lievens is the penname Catherine Lievens uses when she writes Young Adult stories with little to no sex, so I knew this story would be low to no steam.
I knew that the characters are seniors in high school and one of the main characters, Ellis, experiences heavy bullying. I knew, and applaud, the other main character, Dale, identifies as bisexual and is basically hoping to get through high school without having to declare his orientation.
Reading the story, I got an idea of how badly the bully, Mark, constantly treats Ellis. Though it seems the whole student body is aware of the bullying, no one really steps up in any meaningful way to help and Ellis refuses to go to a teacher or authority figure to report the abuse. Mark is a football player, popular, and a BMOC so Ellis figures if he just keeps his head down and stays quiet he can escape Mark once their senior year is finished.
When Ellis and popular soccer player, Dale, are paired on an English assignment the two hit it off and eventually become boyfriends. Dale and Ellis agree to keep their relationship a secret, for more than one reason, though they do come out to their families.
I’d like to take a moment to talk about my favorite part of this story: Dale’s dad and Ellis’s family. I loved them so much. They were so wonderful and such a pleasure to read, I just want to give them all a big group hug.
The bullying increases when Mark finds out about Ellis and Dale leading the story to it’s inevitable conclusion.
To me all of this sounds like a really interesting, engrossing tale of growing up and embracing yourself, falling in love, and dealing with some suspenseful and frightening issues. And while the story absolutely has all of those elements, unfortunately, my expectations of the story and how I reacted to it are two completely different things.
The characters, the writing, the storylines…didn’t really resonate with me. With the exception of the families, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and I didn’t find the writing flowed in a way that made this a pleasurable read for me.
I wanted more emotion and to feel drawn into the characters and story, but never did. I wasn’t satisfied with the conclusion (to put it mildly) especially how certain aspects of the story just got tied up way too quickly or neatly or just…went away with little explanation.