Title: Going the Distance (Fadeaway #1)
Author: John Goode
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: November 27th 2014
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
Page Count: 210 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Looking like the perfect all-American boy—tall, handsome, and athletic—makes it easy for Danny Monroe to blend in with the in-crowd of a new high school. It’s a trick he picked up moving with his father from one Marine base to the next. When you aren’t going to be around long, it’s better to give people what they want. And what they want are his quick hands and fast feet on the basketball court.
On court, he can be himself and ignore certain strange developing urges. Everyone knows you can’t like boys and be a jock, but for Danny his growing attraction is becoming overwhelming. At the thought of losing the only thing that matters, Danny starts to panic and realizes he has a choice to make: happiness or basketball.
Three things you should know before I start this rant:
1. This was beautifully written.
2. John Goode is a master of his craft.
3. I hated this story so much I am finding it hard to describe just how much I HATE IT. It should have been titled “Abandon All Hope”.
This is extremely difficult to rate – because it deserves a 5 star rating for how well done it is, but I want to give it 1 star for how it made me feel.
Oh, John Goode…why?
@36% Finished…Man, I wanted to put this book down. I even tried to put it aside. But I had to pick it up again.
Damn you, John Goode, for not writing badly so I can quit you and your freaking heartbreaking stories. Because John Goode’s writing draws me in like a Venus fly trap.
*reads while pouting*
Why would you want to stop reading this you ask, when I have clearly been engrossed up until this point? Because I hate unhappy endings. There. I said it. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, or at least not a miserable soul-sucking ending. Not that I know if this does or does not have one of those! Let’s just say I can see the writing on the wall and it might as well be “REDRUM”, ya hear me?
I only realized at 36% (so feel free to call me slow) that this is the story of the guy who showed Brad around at A&M who was in the closet and totally miserable about it.
What did I think I was reading about, you ask? Well, for some reason I got confused and thought this was the story about the kid who showed up in class and declared he was gay at the end of 151 Days. Turns out that dude’s “Jared Fisher”…so, yeah, my bad.
This is about Daniel Devin Monroe, and all he’s ever wanted to do is play basketball and ignore the fact he likes guys.
Danny’s first sexual experience when he is eleven years old is met with such anger from his father, (not because of the act, but because the other boy claims Danny touched him while he was asleep because the other kid’s father walks in on them fooling around) that it shapes the self-loathing Danny feels for himself throughout the story.
No matter who comes into his life and says being gay doesn’t matter, Danny’s complete self-loathing for his desire for other men drowns out any of their words or deeds.
When Danny meets Cody and they like each other I thought, maybe now he’ll stop loathing himself for what he wants? But no.
I was hopeful when Danny meets Nate, the big-brother he never had, and Nate is so accepting I thought maybe now…but no.
When he meets Sam…but no.
When he meets Father Mulligan and is so buoyed by his sermon I thought, “Wow, this is great! It’ll finally turn around now!” But once again, Danny’s self-hatred rears his head and he uses the Bible like a knife to cut away any love and happiness from his life.
Killing your own happiness to make some else proud of you is the stupidest fucking reason to do anything.
Then I thought when Danny’s dad finally gives his speech about loving him no matter what, that now, now he’ll STOP and just be himself…
“You know you made me feel like shit in Germany about guys, and now you’re doing the same thing about girls. Do you have a problem with sex or just with me having it?”
It was a completely unfair thing to say, and I knew it the moment it was out of my mouth, but I couldn’t take it back now. It was out there now, and there was nothing to do but deal with it. We’d never talked about what went down in Germany; instead we’d navigated around those mental icebergs, trying our best not to sink this ship we called a life. But I had just steered us into the biggest one out there, and there was no way to turn back now.
He sat down and turned off the TV. The look on his face was half pissed and half hurt. It was killing me to look at him. “You think there isn’t a day I don’t think about how I handled that? Do you honestly think I’m happy with what I said to you then?”
He gave a mirthless little laugh that was like nails on a chalkboard. “This was supposed to be one of the things your mom was supposed to help me with. I have no idea how to handle something like that without fucking you up for the rest of your life.” He looked up at me, and I could see tears in his eyes. “Danny, you can be anything you want to be, and at the end of the day you need to do two things to make me happy. Be the best man you can be and come home safely every night. I don’t care about anything else.”
“But you wanted me to be straight,” I said, my voice sounding like I was about to cry too.
He half sobbed. “No, son, I wanted you to be happy.” That was when we both started crying.
I just…Oh my God the self-loathing in the story killed me. Killed. Me.
Also, it ends…without an ending. Just sayin’.
I mean, we know from 151 Days that Danny goes to school at A&M and continues to hide who he really is…and that just makes me unbelievably sad.
BTW, this is what’s written in the notes of the book:
There are three books in this series: the one you are holding now; the next one, which is him in college; and the last one, which is him as a young adult. This I promise you, because I know some people don’t like to invest their time in a book series unless they know it’s going somewhere.
This is an excerpt from 151 Days, which, if you haven’t read the Tales From Foster High stories, why not? No, seriously. Get on that.
TFFH Brad’s POV and talking with Danny, who is the MC of this book – Going The Distance:
I sat there for a moment and thought about it. “I’d rather you tell me what it’s like to be an athlete in the closet.”
He didn’t say anything for a few seconds, and I really thought he hadn’t heard me. Finally he said, “What’s it like? Crap. You can’t tell anyone what you’re really thinking. You can’t be with the person you really want to. I’m dating a girl that I have zero interest in, which is a shame because she’s an incredible person. I feel like a dog that has a piece of steak on his nose, and the world is just daring me to eat it. So how is it? Well, if I had a choice between this and having a guy come in every day and kick me in the balls, I’d invest in ice packs and industrial-strength cups.” He sounded miserable, but I think he felt better after unloading all that on me.
So, yeah, this makes me inordinately sad because I know there is no HEA (or even HFN) at the end of this story.
Damnit to all to hell, but I’ll be one of the first in line for the others in the series.