Title: Kieran & Drew
Author: L.A. Gilbert
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 1st 2013
Genre(s): ContemPorary, YA/NA
Page Count: 256
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Kieran Appleby can’t wait until graduation to escape his life in the Keys. His only friend is the school janitor, his father doesn’t talk to him, and Kieran doesn’t know how to mention he’s gay. No wonder he daydreams about college anywhere but Florida.
High school baseball star Drew Anderson has only wish in life: to be able to care for those he loves. With an absent father, an agoraphobic mother, and a closet he’s not ready to come out of, he can barely stand under the pressure. No one knows how alone he feels.
When Drew finally notices Kieran’s long-time crush, it jumpstarts a relationship that introduces them to sex, intimacy, and love. Neither has ever been this happy. But lasting happiness is evasive, and Kieran’s desperation to get out of Florida and Drew’s desire to stay and care for his family cannot be reconciled.
“…people never stay with their first loves.”
But sometimes they do.
I ‘ve never stopped being around teenagers, even when I stopped being a teenager myself. This story had one the most realistic portrayals of teenage behavior I have ever read.
There is no melodrama here, but there is angst (which, thankfully, doesn’t override the story). The conflicts are real:
Bullying. Teenagers who feel that they don’t fit in. Parents who mean well, but they screwed up somewhere along the way, and now they ‘re the enemy. Kids that have to be the parent in the family. Decisions about the future.
The characters are real. They make mistakes. Sometimes they ‘re selfless, some others they ‘re selfish. They ‘re scared but try to act tough. They make mistakes. They talk rude, or they can be incredibly sappy. THEY MAKE MISTAKES. And they forgive so easily. Because teenagers. I would never forgive an older version of Drew for his behavior towards Kieran. But come on….can you honestly blame a 17 year-old jock for being scared shitless and running away after falling for a guy?
Also, there is sex. Just the right amount. I love that the author did not shy away from it like it often happens. Not because I’m a perv, which I am, but because teenagers, especially 17/18 year-old-boys are horny all the time, and they do have sex!
Here, the sex was just right. Awkward and imperfect, but new and enthusiastic, frantic but also sweet.
“You’re totally terrified.” […] “Uh, well maybe. just a little bit? I’m mostly really happy about hopefully having sex for the first time, though.”
“I like that we’re. people always remember their firsts, don’t they?” He looked up at Drew and fisted his hand in the front of his T-shirt. “They remember always, even when they’re long gone and it was forever ago.”
In the end, everything comes together so beautifully. Every detail throughout the story, matters to the ending. The epilogue is perfection.
This story will stay with me, and although I’m very picky with YA/NA books, I can highly recommend this one.