If I Should Stumble (Ele’s Review)

Title: If I Should Stumble
Author: Al Stewart, Claire Davis
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Release Date: December 1st 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 148
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
Blurb:A Gay Book Reviews 5+ star read!

Love is sure and timeless and forever. It whispers over the morning coffee and the last thought before sleep. Love is beyond hope, and cruel as life.

Kaz has been in the UK for almost a year, but the days pass by in an endless round of alcohol and nothingness. He has a story but no words good or bad enough to tell it, until one day, he is assigned a new peer mentor who asks him to help train a sponsored running team. Something that was stretched as old parchment breaks inside, and memories begin to re-surface.

Zack is overjoyed when his friend Adam asks him to be part of the sponsored run team trying to make money for the local homeless shelter. All day he makes cakes to lighten people’s load, but something is missing from his life. Then he meets the boy with eyes like the desert, and with every step he runs, Zack’s light burns away the darkness in Kaz’s heart.

As the race heats gets nearer, Tork, Adam, Zack and Jo realise that under Kaz’s careful programme, they have a chance to qualify and set right some of the wrongs of this world.

This book features the characters Tork and Adam from The Invasion of Tork and The Invasion of Adam.

““But what if I should stumble?”
“You? You are a boy who will stumble. You will fall and need help, and feel despair. You are a beautiful boy, so you will stumble hard. But then, you will get up any way you can. If you have to, you will crawl. You pull yourself up, and one foot at a time, you go on. And one day…” […] “You will know love again, and be able to live it.”

Listen up! This is an important story. It’s the story of a boy who one night chased the headlights, leaving his home, his family, his coach, and his ravaged country behind. Because he looked at other boys a little longer, and now people know.

Kaz reaches a destination. He is safe now. But does he feel safe? Or just lost?

Kaz tries to fill in the empty spaces with stuff but it’s not enough. He tries to hoard all the things that would have helped him back then but it’s never enough. Kaz doesn’t know how to fill the emptiness inside, how to forget the baby (oh god that baby), how to stop getting drunk. But there’s one thing he still knows how to do well. He knows how to run!

When his mentor in the group home (it’s Tork!) convinces him to help train a sponsored running team, Kaz feels motivated for the first time ever. It was beautiful seeing Tork and Adam again. Tork has blossomed into this amazing person we always knew he was. And Adam is still an adorable mess. I’m so happy we found these boys in such a great place.

And then there’s Zack. Zack with his soft, plump stomach and sweet smile. Insecure but always reliable. Zack, who joins the running team and pushes so hard despite being mocked at.

I ‘ve read a couple of books with overweight characters lately, but something always felt off. This story made me realise what it is. Kaz didn’t fall in love with Zack because he’s overweight. He didn’t fall for him despite of him being overweight. Kaz loved Zack because he was Zack. Because he was always there to listen. Because he baked Kaz cakes and rushed to pull him back when he was teetering on the edge.


The narrative structure is brilliant here. In only 148 pages, with a little back and forth in time, and without actually describing Kaz’s past the authors manage to tell Kaz and Zack’s story. It blew my mind.

This book is important. It’s important to you, or at least it should be. It’s important to me, because it hits too close to home. Literally. Right outside my door. If you watch the news you know that Greece is right in the middle of the refugee crisis. Or in the end of it? Or maybe the beginning. I don’t even know anymore.

But most of all, it’s important to people like Kaz, and I feel like we ‘re failing them every day.

If I should stumble made me feel all the feelings. It’s a story very close to my heart, that I will forever treasure. Very highly recommended.

Tork and Adam Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of If I Should Stumble provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.


Mother, wife, teacher and READER. I read MM almost exclusively. My kindle is my best friend and the most important thing in my life after my son. My poor husband... I read MM romance almost exclusively. As a reader I don't have any hard limits except incest. I like Contemporary and Historicals and I rarely read Paranormal unless recommended...