precious_boy

Title: precious_boy
Author: KZ Snow
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Publisher:  Dreamspinner
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: novella (142 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Summary Review: How does a man decide between a father and son who want him for different reasons? Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of you.

THE BLURB

It was just an amateur porn video, like thousands of others on the Internet. Like hundreds Jonathan Wright had seen and hundreds more he’d ignored. He hadn’t intended to watch it, but he gives in to his curiosity.  When he sees the lithe, blond young man who’s doing naughty things with a bearish, older man, he’s seduced… and feels like a pervert afterward. The youth in the video seems a little too young, despite the fact he runs his own escort service. Worse yet, Jon gets the nagging feeling he’s seen “Justin Time,” aka precious_boy, before.

When Jon takes a chance and meets Justin in a Chicago hotel room, Jon’s past, present, and possibly his future begin to converge in alarming and confusing ways. There’s no escaping the resulting dilemma: Jon must decide just how involved he wants to get with a sweet kid whose life has turned sour… a decision made more complex by a surprising connection to a lover from Jon’s past.

THE REVIEW

Jon is a book reviewer who spends his leisure time picking up men for one night stands because he doesn’t have time for relationships. He hasn’t had a BF in quite some time – the last one was when he was in university and had an affair with one of his profs, Donald.  He was 19 and Donald 30 when he fell in love with him, but Donald was only using Jon until something better came along. He dumped him two years later when he was offered tenure at a university in another state, but during the time they were together he got to know Donald’s family quite well.

The story opens with Jon waking up and catching one of his hookups in his office late one night trolling the Internet on his computer looking at porn sites. Angry at the intrusion into his privacy he kicked his latest out of his office, but not before he saw which porn site he was interested in. The next day when he took a break from writing reviews he checked out the site again because he couldn’t get the porn star out of his mind. He appeared to be an underage youth or very young-looking man who used the name Justin Time, and he was having sex with a much older man who called himself Roman.  He was titillated by the scene as well as repelled, but he investigated “Justin” further to get his contact information since he was available for “dates” and Jon, perve that he was, thought of paying for a one night stand with him if he was 18. However, when ‘Justin’ smiled into the camera that face looked very familiar.

Jon wanted to be sure that Justin was who he thought he was so he arranged to meet him at a hotel and when he showed up there was no doubt, because Justin recognized him too. After the shock wore off the recriminations and explanations were next but Ethan stood his ground and made it clear that he was his own man even if he was not yet 18. When Jon probed to find out how Ethan had ended up selling his body he told him about being ‘discovered’ by Marc, the older man in the video, now  his live-in lover, while bussing tables at a restaurant. Then Ethan dropped a bombshell – it appeared that Marc wanted him to make gay porn videos for a living and he was considering it. Of course this didn’t sit well with Jon who was afraid of Ethan being further exploited, but there was nothing he could do except try and dissuade Ethan by telling him that he was destroying his life and and what little self respect he had left.

When Ethan departed John had no option but to call his ex and tell him how his son was making his living but Donald’s reaction was not that of a caring father and confirmed Ethan’s opinion of him. Since Donald wasn’t concerned about what his underage son was doing Jon decided that it was up to him to make him see the light. He arranged a get together with Ethan and his father for his 18th birthday so that Donald could have a talk with him. However Donald’s attention was  focused on getting Jon back in his life and he couldn’t care less about how Ethan was messing up his. Ethan was also interested in Jon as his hero worship had grown into something much more mature and sexual, but would Jon ever see him as anything other than his ex’s son? And what of Jon – was he over control-freak Donald who was on the prowl because he could see his youth (what was left of it) slipping away with very few opportunities to score, or would he let Donald manipulate him again?

precious_boy is not the usual hooker redemption story. It hooked me in (the pun is intended) from the first page. Ethan was very mature for his age and at times I thought he was the adult rather than Jon who was 12 years older. He seemed to know what he wanted, even if if was the wrong thing and he certainly knew a lot about sex. Would he and Jon be able to overcome the age difference and the fact that Jon was once his father’s BF, and have a meaningful relationship? And what about Marc who had a choke hold on Ethan who seemed afraid of him?

The story was very entertaining and even had a funny character, in the person of Jon’s mother Marti, who now that she was divorced was quite the cougar.  Another character who I liked a lot was Ethan’s mother who had very little face time in the book but showed how much she cared about her son. Donald on the other hand, although well drawn, did not ooze warm and fuzzy feelings and I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be up close and personal with him because he was too selfish even during sex. He was the typical aging Romeo who realized that he would have a hard time finding a man as he grew older and therefore wanted to have Jon back in his life as a source of sex and arm candy. Of course it didn’t hurt that Jon had grown into a very attractive man who could have anyone. Also, while Donald could care less about Ethan the thought of him and Jon together was like a knife in his stomach but not in his heart since he didn’t appear to have one. Jon loved Ethan but could not articulate his feelings and he would need to get up the courage to do so to ensure that Ethan knew he was loved and trusted or it would be over before it began. Finally, would Ethan be mature enough to pick door number 1, realize his dreams, and prove to Jon that his hero worship had evolved into love? All of these questions and more will be answered if you pick up the book. 🙂 BTW the sex was quite hot and inventive, given Ethan’s previous ‘career,’ in case you’re interested

precious_boy is a heartwarming, complex story about a man who waited a long time to claim his love but it was worth every year when he found the courage to go for what he wanted. It took a lot of courage, I’m sure, for any author to tackle this topic and KZ has big balls for daring to go there.

This book is told in Jon’s first person POV. Highly recommended.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

43 comments

  • Though I’ve read several reviews of this book (including yours, Val’s and two others), I’m still leaning more towards a “pass” than a “buy.” Which is a tad unusual for me.

    After all, I like May/December romances (like in “Slow Burn”). I could almost say that what’s squicking me is the fact that Jon knew Ethan as a kid (even if there was impropriety). ponders I think it might be that both son and father are after Jon.

    It sounds like a good book (plus bonus points for the lack of gritty hustler tone that a lot of the prostitution books tend to have), but this time around I just can’t get over the squick. :-/

    Reply
    • ETA: Comment!Fail

      This is what I meant:

      I could almost say that what’s squicking me is the fact that Jon knew Ethan as a kid (even if there was no impropriety.)

      Reply
    • Hello Luce
      I can understand your reservations although I don’t think that if you read the book you would continue to feel that way.

      Jon did know Ethan as a kid but it was the typical adult playing “big brother” and I must stress the “playing” part. You could look at Jon’s relationship with Donald in a somewhat similar light since Donald was Jon’s prof and the age difference was the same – 12 years. The major difference was that Donald met Jon when he was a teenager.

      It’s your call of course, but I think you would be missing a terrific book with some great characterizations, which is where KZ Snow excels. 🙂

      Reply
  • I doubted the maturity of Ethan. Until I read where he prompted Jon to take a closer look at what Donald was trying to gain.

    Reply
    • Hi Hannah
      Initially I thought that Ethan was too young for Jon until he started to speak. He was definitely mature enough for a relationship considering what he had been doing to make a living – the emotional maturity was something else and that came out in the dialogue. Great point.

      Reply
  • Great review, Wave. I’m glad that you loved this one as much as you did. It was an autobuy for me, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I really don’t think the age thing will bother me, which just goes to show that we all have different things that bother us 🙂

    Thanks for being so informative

    Reply
    • I thought it was a terrific book and the age thing was a non issue for me, however I realize that the 3 months difference is a big deal to some readers, even though Jon never touched Ethan when he was under age.

      I think you will like the characters and and it’s quite funny in parts.

      Reply
  • Wave, the blurb had caught my eye already, and then I checked out this site today on my break and found your review that clenched the deal. I’m fast becoming a huge fan, and love the dynamics between KZ Snow’s characters.

    Reply
    • Hi Eden
      The story is unusual and extremely well written. The characters are all three dimensional and believable, even Ethan’s fathher Donald who I couldn’t stand. I hope you like precious_boy.

      Reply
  • I am so wanting this book, so it’s going into the TBB pile. KZ’s contemporaries are pretty much an autobuy for me. Thanks for the great review, Wave.

    Reply
      • So I stayed up waaaayyy too late last night consuming this novella and it was lovely. Great writing, funny at the right times, well-drawn characters. I didn’t have issue with the age difference (less than the one I have with my partner) and wasn’t squicked at the fact that Ethan was so young, especially since he was very mature for his age. Spot on review, Wave.

        Reply
        • Thanks Lynn for coming back.

          I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t misleading anyone in my review but, like you, the age thing didn’t bother me at all because of KZ’s masterful handling of Ethan’s character.

          The book was funny, wasn’t it? I really love Jon’s mother Marti – she was so decadent. lol. As for Ethan I think he was the star of the book, hands down, even if the story is told in Jon’s 1st person POV. KZ did a very nice job with precious_boy.

          Reply
  • Hmm, I’ve been on the fence about this book, but now I think I’ll add it to my very long to-read list and re-evaluate when I get to it. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Alex
      I’m easily squicked by underage sex and I can assure you this did not happen here between Jon and Ethan. Ethan was hooking at 17 but Jon had no contact with him sexually until he was of age. I hope you get the book and come back and let me know if you enjoyed it.

      Reply
      • Oh, I wasn’t on the fence about the age thing (wow, that sounds horrible). I assume characters are of age (whatever *that* means) in published stories.

        I was more worried the book would just be a basic boy meets prostitute story, but your description indicates there is alot more to it.

        Reply
        • Sorry. I misunderstood your concern Alex. There is a lot to the story and I can’t say much more because we’ll get into spoilers. Let’s just say it’s not the usual hooker story, otherwise I would not have rated it as 4.5 stars. I think you will enjoy Ethan and Jon and the other characters and there is a fair amount of levity in the story despite the plot. 🙂

          Reply
  • Thanks for the review, Wave. I don’t think anything in this is likely to squick me – it sounds rather appealing in a strange kind of way. I have yet to read any KZ Snow, so maybe this would be a good one to start with…

    Reply
    • Jo
      I thought that KZ was very sensitive to the age issue and nothing happened between Jon and Ethan until he was 18.

      I believe this book would be a great introduction to KZ’s writing and I hope, if you do read the book, that you come back and let me know how you enjoyed it (if you did). 🙂

      Reply
  • I have read the book, and I’ll admit to being very conflicted/squicked. KZ is an excellent author, and the writing is top notch. I had problems with the age difference between Ethan and Jon, and throw in the past history with them along with Donald, and I was/still am uneasy with Ethan’s and Jon’s relationship.

    Reply
    • Kathy
      I can understand your unease with this topic but Jon never acted in any manner untoward regarding Ethan that would cause concern when he was a child. It wasn’t until he was 18 that Jon allowed his feelings for Ethan to emerge.

      It takes a writer with great courage to tackle a subject like this and I have to salute KZ for daring to go there.

      Reply
  • Great review and I’m glad people made sure to explain that it is not a dark story.

    I received this story from KZ Snow in the Christmas giveaway to fans, and I really enjoyed the characters and the story. KZ writes engaging characters that grab your heart and who you want to find happiness.

    Reply
    • Hello rdafan7

      KZ writes engaging characters that grab your heart and who you want to find happiness.

      You’re absolutely right about KZ’s characters and this book showed how much emotion she imparts to them and makes them three dimensional.

      Reply

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