Title: Fair Isn’t Life (States of Life Series, Minnesota)
Author: Kaje Harper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary, College Age
Page Count: 148
Reviewed by: Kristin F
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Luke Lafontaine survived the past year by not thinking about the father he lost, the dairy farm he couldn’t save from bankruptcy, or his way of life that vanished with the rap of an auctioneer’s hammer. Cleaning up city folks’ trash at the Minnesota State Fair is just another dead-end job. But at the Fair, surrounded by a celebration of farm life, ambitions he’d given up on and buried deep start to revive. And seeing Mason Bell in the parade—gorgeous, gay, out-of-his-league Mason—stirs other buried dreams.
Mason left his hometown for college in Minneapolis without looking back. Student life is fun, classes are great, gay guys are easy to find, but it’s all a bit superficial. He’s at the State Fair parade route with his band when he realizes a scruffy maintenance worker is Luke, his secret high school crush. Luke should be safely home working on his dad’s farm, not picking up litter. Mason wishes he hadn’t fallen out of touch. He’s an optimist, though, and it’s never too late for second chances. Now he just has to convince Luke.
Blurb is solid so I won’t rehash the plot. This was a gentle, sweet read that had me sniffling over cows.
Of our two characters, Mason is definitely the driving force in the plot. He’s engaging, a tich flamboyant, and cares about his family and friends. Now that he’s reconnected with Luke, Luke can’t help but be pulled into Mason’s sphere of influence and positivity.
Luke is stoic only how a Minnesota farmer can be – almost to a fault. He’s hard working, respectful, tall, blond and handsome, and life keeps shitting on him. Luke…was almost too stereotypical for my tastes and I had a hard time feeling engaged with his character. Except with his cows – I melted. Udderly melted.
My only small complaint with the book was as our characters reunite, and Luke might see a way out of his predicament, Luke’s interests or tastes in the bedroom (and potentially in the greater world) become a bit garbled. I don’t want to give away too much here, but rather than feeling like it added to “Luke”, it felt disconnected or disjointed. Like I noted, a small thing and my humble opinion, but it didn’t work for me.
Recapping, this is a sweet, gentle read revolving around two college-age kids who reconnect under very different circumstances.