Author: Ryan Loveless
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: October 20th 2016
Genre(s): M/M YA Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 210 pages
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Carter Stevenson is looking forward to a fresh start in a new high school on the other side of the country. It’ll give him a chance to escape his reputation for twitching and stuttering. He’ll have the summer to himself in his new home in California, and in the fall, he won’t get involved in any activity that puts his Tourette’s center stage. He won’t stand out as different.
But his new neighbor, Ethan, isn’t just going to change his plans. He’s going to change Carter’s life.
Ethan Hart is recovering from a traumatic brain injury, but it doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm or love for life. As soon as he sees Carter, who moves like the music Ethan sees between the clouds and the grass, he’s determined to become his friend, and then his boyfriend. And even if his parents say their romance can’t get physical, Ethan won’t let it stand in the way of falling in love.
Stepping into the spotlight was the last thing Carter ever wanted, but Ethan, along with a group of friends who like him just the way he is—tics and all—starts to change his mind.
Adapted as a YA edition of the award-winning novel Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless.
I wanted to love this. You have no idea how much. Because Ethan, Who Loved Carter is one of my favorite books, not just M/M, but all genres, of all time.
I reread Ethan, Who Loved Carter frequently. I listen to the audio a few times a year. I love it.
So when I heard Ryan Loveless was releasing a YA version of the book I was thrilled. I lined up eager to get my hands on it and I can say, unequivocally, that’s it’s really, really well done.
Carter is fifteen, about to be sixteen, and Ethan is eighteen. Ethan’s TBI and Carter’s Tourette’s are really well explained and rendered perfectly to give the reader understanding, compassion and empathy with the characters.
Both boys are drawn together from the start and perfect for each other. The relationship is a slow, careful growth, and everyone around them being very careful of each boy’s limitations and needs.
But, for me, I cannot help but compare Ethan to Ethan, Who Loved Carter. I kind of felt like a little bit of soul was missing from this. I almost hate to say it, but Carter being so young, his parents being involved in his decision making, and finally the passion that they share being missing from this story, all really impacted how I felt about it.
It’s such an awesome retelling, but after reading it I have to wonder why it was done at all. The only reason I can really see is because of the biggest complaint I remember reading from other reviews: that people felt because of Ethan’s TBI he had limited ability to consent to sexual activity.
Which I always thought was bull. I honestly believe Ethan, Who Loved Carter is one of the most perfectly done novels I’ve ever read. It works on pretty much every level. It hits all the right notes.
Ethan, while lovely, and all the chords are there, just played a different song for me.
It makes me wish I had read Ethan before I read Ethan, Who Loved Carter, because this really is excellently done and deserves to stand on its own merits.
All of which is a personal opinion only.
I would still absolutely recommend the story for younger audiences, while encouraging older audiences to absolutely try Ethan, Who Loved Carter.