Title: A good enough reason
Author: C.M. Lievens
Publisher: Dreamspinner press
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Page Count: 220
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 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?
Meh, I was unfortunately underwhelmed by this one. I do love coming of age stories and I certainly do not mind reading about kids in high school figuring their stuff out, but this was a little too high school and not enough romance for my taste.
Dale and Ellis start spending time together because of a school project. Dale, who is for all intents and purposes straight, admits that he likes Ellis, and ends up kissing him at a party. Queue the disappearing act. I didn’t mind that the plot was fairly formulaic and predictable –my expectations are always lowered coming out of a 5 star read- but the writing style made for a pretty flat, monotone atmosphere and I kept waiting for something to happen. It never did.
There was a resolution with the bullying but I find it difficult to believe that a troubled teenager like Mark would have the insight to blurt out exactly what his deeper reasons were for harassing Ellis that badly. It read a bit like a villain’s confession at the end of the movie. The reasons were so conveniently served on a plate that I couldn’t help but feel that these were the author’s words given to me via the character. I hate when that happens. I know I’m reading a fictional story but I want to be immersed in it, I want to feel that the characters are real people. That way, I can actually relate to them perhaps or at least feel for them.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen for me here and even though the boys reached a HFN by the end of the book, with a smidgeon of smex to seal the deal, I think I stopped being invested in them a while back.
The premise was promising and I could read about angsty teenagers any day of the week. But the romance needs to be solid instead of a superficial touching-upon some teenage infatuation. Even Dale’s coming out fell flat, even though the blurb suggested tension and implied it would be a big part of the plot. It really wasn’t.
So while the story is cute, with some extra points about making bullying a big part of the book, the execution fell flat.