Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Alabaster, Nick Hirsch

Review by Kazza K

Dromos by G. Arden O'fedenThis is one of the best short YA stories I've read. It's an awfully hard book to review because it is short and because of the use of metaphors and magical realism to convey meaning outside of the standard narrative - Alan's dad leaves, a missed (idealized) father/family, a mother who shuts down, dysfunction sets in, school bullying is chronic, Alan now feeling like he is nothing more than alabaster - leaving dust on his sheets, seeing cracks and fissures on his skin, no longer flesh and blood  -

There was a time when he was flesh like everyone else. His skin had been soft, layered over rivers of rhythmic blood. He’d had a body full of water, sweat and tears. He’d liked to run and laugh and dance with clouds behind his ears. His father was there, then, and would push him on the swings at the park, higher and higher until he could grab the stars out of the sky.
There is difficulty at home, Alan's mother posing questions when Alan left for school early - was he visiting his father, was he?  Making sure his mother is gone before he leaves. Something that is played out over and over across many different counties of the children of divorce. At school Alan has to deal with Roger, a one time friend, now first-degree bully -

Things changed at school once his father was gone. It began with a boy named Roger, who always wanted to prove he was tough when there were girls around.....
"Hey, faggot," Roger was loud enough to get everyone's attention.
Alan didn't look up. He pretended not to notice and hoped Roger would just get bored and find another target......
"Keep reading if you like dick."
Some of the girls laughed.
"My dad says reading is for fairies," another boy said.
"Are you a fairy?" someone else asked.....
"Hold him, " Roger said from far away.
A shudder passed through Alan's chest. He coughed,  and dust spilled from between his lips. Roger punched Alan in the face while two other boys held his arms....
Roger punched him again, this time in the stomach, and a cascade of gravel fell out of Alan's mouth. Roger hit him in the jaw, and grey stone flaked away like shale.
Roger was beating him to death. His mother was sneering and his father was laughing and he felt none of it. He said nothing and Roger beat him as hard as he had ever been beaten until the substitute arrived and everyone pretended that they had no idea, or that they wanted to help him....
Alan said nothing and silently he turned to stone.

That is just a part of a very powerful chapter.

The period covered in this book spans from year 7 through to Alan's sophomore year -

Grade school ended, as it tends to. Alan was placed in an advanced studies program across town, while Roger ended up at the district school. Only two or three other kids from Alan's neighbourhood went to the same school as he did, and they quickly formed a silent agreement to pretend they'd never met.
- and it is done in an unbelievably seamless manner saying much in an incredibly small word count of around 3,750 words. And in those 3,750 words life is accepted, life changes, and much hope is generated -

Somewhere in the middle of winter, sophomore year, the bus became important. Alan was there early, mostly just to get out of the house.

There was a boy sitting next to him, glowing brightly. Alan looked around to see if anyone else noticed, but no one did. They never, ever did.
"Want to sit down?" The boy asked.
It took time to form words. How did you talk to sunlight?
"Sure," he said.
The boy was made of colors, the opposite of Alan in every conceivable way. His skin was copper, his hair melted gold. Light spilled from his pores, his smile, his eyes. Alan wondered how no one on the bus was blind from all that light....
Alan and Luke spent twenty minutes riding a cloud to school, and when they got there Alan felt the ground trembling again. He thought of his father and the swings again, for the first time since that day with Roger in seventh grade.
The book ends on a good note, obtuse to a certain extent, but full of hope - no more bullies, Luke makes Alan happy, a short note to his mother, and us the readers, and a reaction that makes the journey a good one.

The prose in this book is lyrical and metaphorical, along with the use of derogatory words that help drive the realism of bullying home in amongst the surreal components. I read this to my son, who has suffered bullying, and he thought it powerful and well handled. I truly hope Alabaster receives a wide readership because it deserves it. Highly recommended reading for young teens up.

5 Stars 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Refrigeration Blues, Richard Natale

-Review by Kazza K
Refrigeration BluesFirst of all, this book comes under the New Adult Category (NA) for seventeen years up, but from my perspective that is only because it is about a young male who, initially, for a while, wants to commit suicide because the guy he loves has died on the touch football field. 
The MC, Matthew, starts out by talking about the feelings he had for his older brother Ben's best friend, Nathaniel, from a young age. But the majority of this book is looking back from, and up to, the present, all from Matthew's POV. He is somewhere in his twenties, although age is not discussed. And when Nathaniel dies he would be in his thirties, although, once again, it is not definitively stated. 
This book is not gloomy and it hits pretty well on what siblings can be like, Here Matthew is, uh, introduced to Nathaniel when he was nine by his older brother, Ben -

"Oh, yeah, and that's the kid." Ben never referred to me by name. It was always the kid, the brat, and when he was really angry, fuckface. 
It is a tad irreverent about and around a serious subject matter, without seeming blasé or uncaring. The fact that Matthew is planning on taking himself out of this world via a refrigerator is unusual in and of itself. He hasn't thought it through too well as the fridge, a Digby, won't fit his whole body in it, so plans are thwarted -

Here's where my nifty little scheme began to go awry. I couldn't quite get the doors shut. No matter how I contorted myself, there was always a wayward limb or a buttock cheek. I had miscalculated Digby's depth and height......

There are things to like about this book - the almost tongue in cheek, yet also melodramatic plans - Romeo and Juliet were going to look basic after Matthew was through. Yet, there was also a clear feeling that someone, Matthew in this case, was going through a difficult time. Probably not really having his heart in his imminent demise but heartbroken enough to want to do something about the pain  - finding someone he had desired for a long time, has spent some time without, and then, after truly finding him, loving him....losing him permanently. And the reasons why this plan of his may no longer be the right plan for him at all.
Some Issues -

This book is not terribly contemporary. It is set back in the 70's - 80's and as such, some of the references, including a few words from a Paul Simon song, references to Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man, and Sid and Nancy, won't hit the mark with the majority of a NA audience. I'm okay with it, but I'm not a spring chicken. I ran the references past some of my YA/NA connections and they looked at me and blinked.
There is no sex, although it's alluded to. This is a disappointment given it is gay NA story and there was opportunity when, as adults, they reacquaint themselves with one another. ** See below. In this book I believe it took them about four dates to do anything and we are talking about one guy who is in his twenties and another who was at least thirty -.

By the time we became intimate, we were ready - If they were sixteen and seventeen, then maybe I would buy that.

The ending is a to be continued, just be aware. I would have preferred this to have been longer and all dealt with and wrapped up in a longer book.

Overall -

This is an interesting short ebook that touches on a difficult subject without making it maudlin and without being disrespectful, so that is well done. It infuses some realism, some humour and some nice writing. I had some issues with it from a NA book's perspective and that is reflected in my overall rating. I would like to see where this goes, though, and what will happen to Matthew now he's had a new way of looking at things.

3.5 stars

** I added this after the review because I don't wish to sound like I am singling this book or publisher out, as I most definitely am not. I'm talking in general - It seems NA writers/publishers in the LGBT world are almost frightened to go down the path of actual sexual relationships, which is much different to their heterosexual counterparts. I find this most frustrating and incredibly unrealistic. If you are writing a book that is about a relationship, I don't get it. I'm not suggesting wholesale sex scenes everywhere. Just realism. If you are going to aim books at LGBT youth, particularly seventeen year old males up, then make it real - because they will call BS on it otherwise, more than that they won't buy it. It's not just parent's that make decisions. My children have always been consulted on what it is they want(ed) to read.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Vintage: A Ghost Story, Steve Berman

- Review by Cindi

4.5 out of 5 stars

I admit to being lax in reading and reviewing Young Adult books recently.  I kept looking for that one book that was unique.  I found that with Vintage:  A Ghost Story by Steve Berman.  This book would never be called more of the same.

The main character (whose name is never given in the book) has recently run away from the home of his parents to live with his favorite aunt, Jan.  His parents are the stereotypical homophobic parents read about and experienced all over the place.  They did not want their son to be different and it was made clear to him that he would no longer be welcome in their home unless he conformed to their beliefs.  Instead of trying to change who he is, the teen ran off in the middle of the night.  Thankfully, his aunt was quick to accept him into her home.  

They told me I was a tremendous disappointment as well as a sick child.  I left the very next morning.  The bus station opened before my folks even woke up.
Vintage: A Ghost Story

The protagonist is seventeen-years-old and has only recently accepted that he is beyond a doubt a gay male.  Not just a gay male, but a very lonely gay male.  

I didn't need to be reminded of my loserdom, having yet to go out on one single date or even kiss another boy.

Moving in with his aunt was supposed to help him to make a new start, a new life.  He meets a girl who is his age in a video store, Trace, and a strong friendship is born.  Trace picks up on the fact that he is gay pretty quickly as do her other friends, some of which become his as well and some of which he tries to avoid. His loneliness continues to get worse as the weeks go by.  He dies a little inside each time he sees couples who are so obviously taken with one another.  

Walking home down a long stretch of highway one night he believes that perhaps his luck has changed.  Coming toward him is a good looking boy around his age.  The stranger is wearing clothes right out of the fifties including a letterman football jacket.  The clothing intrigues the young man as he himself has a slight obsession with vintage clothing as he works in a shop that specializes in them.  At first the stranger doesn't speak but when he does the main character's life is changed forever.

The legend of Joshua Wyle is well known in the area.  Walking home late one night after a party, he is struck and killed by a vehicle on a lonely stretch of road.  Sightings of Joshua have been reported for decades but never has the ghost or apparition spoken to anyone... until now. Not only does he speak to the boy but he follows him home to his aunt's house.  A quick lust/love relationship is there for the protagonist though falling in love with a ghost is even more disturbing than being obsessed with all other things morbid as the boy is.  Within a short amount of time there is sexual contact between boy and ghost.  What starts as something exciting quickly turns terrifying.  The ghost of Josh Wyle is not one that should be messed with.  He was not a very nice person in life and this carries over to him in death.  As terrifying events begin to unfold for the protagonist, other ghosts make themselves known; at cemeteries, old buildings, the library, the list goes on.  One such ghost is Mike, the older brother of Trace.

Trace lives with her father and her fifteen-year-old brother who is known as "Second Mike".  Mike's name broke my heart.  He is referred to as "Second Mike" by all because he was named after his other brother (First Mike) who disappeared when he was only eleven years old and is presumed dead.  Trace and Mike's father lives at home but works a lot.  Their mother never recovered from the disappearance of the first Mike so she had to be institutionalized.  She was institutionalized after insisting on having another child who she hoped would take the place of the one she lost.  I liked Mike's father in the story as he comes across as a very good guy. However, I did not like that he had felt that it was okay to name his second son after one presumed dead.  You do not try to replace one child by giving another the same name.

The "second Mike" was an odd kid.  Maybe being named after your older brother did that. Or wearing so many of his hand-me-downs.  He wasn't a bad kid, but he had the knack of being annoying and underfoot.

There are other characters who add to the story, some in a good way and some not.  Liz and Maggie are a lesbian couple who have their own issues.  There is Kim, a friend of Liz, Maggie and Trace who is really not any type of friend at all.  Thankfully Kim is not in the story much.  Aunt Jan was a pleasure to read about.  She had her rules for her nephew but she also had his back.

Then there are the ghosts who are suddenly making their presence known but only to the protagonist of the story. One of which is First Mike.  This is disturbing on many levels because now the boy is questioning all the times he saw "Mike" at Trace's house and wondering which Mike did he see as the resemblance between them is shocking.  Now he is unsure of all the people he comes in contact with.  Are they ghosts or are they real?  Some are kind but most are threatening.  Much later in the story does the reason for his 'ability' come out.

"What's wrong with me?" I did not want to suddenly start bawling.  But I was afraid. Everywhere I went I seemed surrounded by spirits.  I remembered the one with the knife from last night.  He had been bad; suppose the next one is worse?

Josh goes from being a friendly, sexy ghost to being a constant threat for the MC and those he is close to.  In life he was a jealous person.  In death he is even more so.  When Josh begins threatening those the MC holds dear, he knows it is time to make him go away somehow.  While doing so, he hopes to also find out what really happened to First Mike.

This is an amazing story.  The young man is so desperate for love and attention that he latches on to the first being person who shows him any type of real attention.  Only later does he see that the person he is looking for is very much alive and practically under his nose.

Parts of this book are seriously creepy.  The ghosts are not all good ghosts and some of their deaths are described rather graphically.  Also, think talking dolls.  That is only one very small part of the story but it was more than enough for me.  Dolls don't scare me.  Creepy, talking dolls? Well, yeah. :)

Eventually with the help from friends, Josh is made to disappear into the afterlife.  First Mike's disappearance is explained and Second Mike is no longer forced to live in the shadow of his namesake as all mysteries are now solved.  The ending, while a little rushed, was perfect.  Steve Berman is a masterful storyteller if I am to go by his writing in Vintage: A Ghost Story.  He has definitely gained a new fan.

Note:  This book may be disturbing to some readers.  There are very few sexual situations but the ones mentioned are between a person and a ghost.  Also, I touched on the talking doll.  This is only one part of the book that would be classified as creepy or disturbing. Keep this in mind before reading this book.  The rest of the story is completely age appropriate for teens in my opinion.  

The Battle for Jericho, Gene Gant

The Battle for Jericho

- Review by Trisha Harrington

** This review contains slight spoilers. ***

The Battle for Jericho by Gene Gant was a really solid story. It had a good plot and some solid characters, but I can’t give this book any more than three stars. I do have my reasons for this; one of them being it was such a depressing book.

From the beginning you get the feel of the story. Jericho and his friend Mac decide to vandalise the local ‘fags’ bungalow. Once they get there things soon escalate and it becomes apparent that it was going to go very wrong. Dylan, the ‘fag’ ended up injured. Instead of feeling good about it, Jericho felt remorse and went to apologise. That helped me to find a place where I could like Jericho, even if it was just a bit.

Things were a bit rocky after that. Jericho decides to ‘go gay’. Those are his own words and at that point I was a bit angry. He did not seem to grasp that it wasn’t a choice. But he was trying to embrace everything, and eventually, he did. He had a girlfriend, Lissandra, and that was another thing that bugged me slightly. I would call it cheating, where others would not. Cheating for me is a big no, no and for people wondering why I am giving it three stars, I will tell you.

Hutch was amazing. For me he was my favourite character. I had a lot of sympathy for him. He struggled at home and out in the world. The boy he liked was dating a girl. I did like him for saying what he said during the first ‘date’. To say Hutch put up with a lot was an understatement. His issues became clearer in the book, but I admired him for being brave. His presence in the book was the thing I loved about this book.

As a couple, Jericho and Hutch went from okay to amazing in the space of a chapter. I was iffy about how I would feel about them, but when they had sex for the first time… I just felt a connection to them as a couple. As a side note I want to point out that Jericho is not gay, he’s bi and that may or may not make a difference.

I’m not a kiss and tell kind of guy. But I will say that Hutch and I lost our virginity that night.
It was the most beautiful experience of my life. And afterward, when I lay there with Hutch falling asleep in my arms, I didn’t regret it one bit.

As I said at the beginning of my review, this book is depressing. For a YA novel I found it more depressing than I would normally read. The best friend, Mac, and the man in the beginning, Dylan, were the only two characters apart from Hutch who I really liked. There are gay bashings, child abuse and the death of children. Added to that both boys were almost disowned by their parents and Jericho’s parents sickened me. But when religion comes in that happens more often than not.

Looking back over the book, there were signs of both boys having some sort of abuse in the home. Jericho’s would not have been as obvious, but a parent grabbing his or her child and talking down to them when they have a question, is abuse. It was sad how that worked out. Normally, I like to see one of the MC’s having a supportive family/relative. In this, there isn’t one on either side.

The ending fit the story and gave hope. I was disappointed that it ended without some sort of reconciliation between Jericho and his parents. I would have liked Dylan to appear again too. Another thing that would have been nice would have been to see Mac’s dad. He sounded like a decent man. Religion was mentioned for his family too, but he wasn’t a bigot and that could have lightened this story.

And I know who I am now. I’m a guy with lots of friends and parents who believe I’m going to hell but love me anyway. I’m a guy who’s attracted to both girls and boys, and who now has a great thing going with a great guy.
And I think that makes me… blessed.

I give The Battle for Jericho three stars. It would be less but as I said, Hutch was a reason for me to love something about this, so because there was something I loved, I’m giving it three. I recommend it for people who would have no issues with is mentioned above.

3 out of 5 stars

This book was provided by Harmony Ink Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Welcome Guest Reviewers!

In the upcoming weeks you may see some new names on some of the reviews on Greedy Bug. We are lucky enough to have some of our closest reading friends consent to do reviews for the blog on occasion.  We aren't going anywhere and nothing will change with the exception of us sharing a bit of the love so to speak.  So we hope you will check out the reviews by our friends and show them the same love you have shown the three of us and the blog as a whole.  Give them a big welcome and comment on their reviews if you'd like. You know how hard it is to put your words out there so we hope you will give these folks a huge welcome.  Below is a little bit of information about our guest reviewers.  More info will be added to this post as we add new reviewers.  If you are interested in posting a guest review on Greedy Bug Book Reviews, click the Contact Us link on the right side of the page and all the information is listed.

Trisha Harrington - Trisha is an Irish girl and an avid reader of Young Adult Gay Fiction.  A teenager herself, she has a good idea of what goes on in the minds of the young characters in the Young Adult books that she reads.  Also a lover of adult LGBT fiction, her first love will always be the ones with characters that fall into her own age bracket.  A big welcome to Trisha from all of us at Greedy Bug Book Reviews.

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Dear Diary (Dear Diary #1), Allison, Cassatta

-Review by Mr Austro-Hungarian

Note from Kazza K: -  Please note that this book is in the M/M or adult category of books with its publisher. NOT YA. The reviewer of this book is in his late teens and felt that this book belonged in the late YA or New Adult category and would suit readers from 16 years on, depending on the reader. This is based on his opinion as a reader who also happens to be a young gay male.

This story takes us on the path of an eighteen-year-old Chris who, in the midst of getting ready for his senior year prom, decides this day is to be the day he purges his stories in an almost cathartic fashion, so he sets out to record the precious memories he had of a summer romance that changed his life – with a man named Josh, who was an intern for a law firm Chris was volunteering at.

This was all done through the use of a hand-held recorder he received for Christmas. In fact, this recorded version of these events is where the story lies, along with intermittent appearances from all the people that he holds dear in the present – his family and best friend. Together, Chris makes his prom experience one that is not merely just a step into adulthood.

But whilst this short story has the sweetest of intentions, and I truly tried to like the story (as I am a sucker for cathartic spilling) this story also had some of my pet peeves. In fact, it had two:

1.       The Sex Scene:
In this story lay a sex scene, and one that did not fade off-page and did explain the basic ins and outs of oral sex. I definitely applaud the author for this. However, there were some problems I had with the sex scene with regards to how it was handled. For example:

  “I had to fight not to look at Josh, even as curiosity threatened to get the best of me. Something told me that as soon as I saw him, as soon as I saw his hand around my Jimmy, I’d put a stop to all of it despite wanting it more than I’d ever wanted anything else in my life.”

Jimmy. Jimmy. JIMMY?!

…I  felt this totally undermined the sex scene. I could almost understand if:

A) This was a blatant attempt to make this slightly younger. (Again, this has as its own problems; if it was for a slightly younger audience, there would be a ringing cry for the explicitness and depth of the scene.)
B) The main protagonist was an ego-centric plebeian that had a talent for giving himself a big-enough head to force America into giving his penis its own zip code. (Which, he wasn’t. Even though I did not like the character, he wasn’t ego-centric.)
C) His penis could talk, eat, breathe and was lucid enough to be able to distinguish the English alphabet. (To be fair, I have seen enough of them around my area.)

Well, I know C is definitely out of the question, and I really do not feel it is B. So, is it A? I thought about this for a while, because the author does use this consistently. However, a few lines later:

   “Oh my God, my completely erect penis was in this dude’s mouth!”

So…no, it cannot be A. The answer clearly does not lie in any of the aforementioned hypotheses. Then why is this language being used to describe the main character’s genitalia? I have absolutely no idea. If someone had ever referred to their penis as “Jimmy”, I would probably ask how they felt about having a man named James trapped in their penis and walk away. I am being serious – it is not cool in a serious story, and definitely not something that should ever be mentioned when in a sex scene.

I also had a problem with some of the word choices when this sex scene unfolded. For example:

   “He went down on me again, gripped my sac in his hand, gave a gentle squeeze, and I was done for. I felt the pressure in my chest, felt my body tense as the most incredible pain filled every inch of my being…”

Pain? I don’t know where the pain is coming from, particularly because the “pressure” associated with coming towards climax has already been described. Unless I am missing out on some sort of crucial physiological sign of pre-orgasm (I use the term “missing out” loosely) I am at a loss as to why the author describes Chris going through pain.

(This should be where I put in a warning – if you experience pain similar to this, you may need to see your doctor.)

      2. Realism of the People (And Everything Associated):
This story had my absolute pet peeve – people that embody the archetype, as mother dearest calls it: Blonde hair. Blonde teeth. Blonde life. The people of Dear Diary are the absolute epitome of this lifestyle. We have:

Chris: A boy who has stellar grades destined for an Ivy League college. Athletic body. Popular. Is good looking. Has a female best friend who is also stunning. They once went out, split, and are still best friends. Has the most understanding and Brady-esque parents in the world. Need I say more?

Josh: Admittedly, the most fleshed out character (which is not saying much). But he is still incredibly attractive. (Blonde hair and green eyes – that, speaking as a science major who has studied phenotypes and genetics, is pretty bloody rare. Be thankful, Josh!) It is also alluded to that he is intelligent. (Although my brain, for some reason, concluded that he wasn’t. I may have been reading too many nerd-meets-jock stories…again.) He also has a cool, almost “zomg-he-is-in-college!” thing going on…

…oh, and his EYES CAN SHOOT MALACHITE-GREEN LASERS THAT CAN HEAL SICK CHILDREN! (Not really, I just got bored and started imagining him shooting lasers from his eyes.)

Parents: They are too nice. Just…too nice. I said that they were Brady-esque, and they are.

Exhibit A: They have to ground Chris for "a few weeks" for sneaking out. That’s great and all, but I have two problems with this:

1. HE’S FREAKING 18! He, as an adult, does not “sneak out”; he “goes out”. Because…you know…he’s an adult? Did we forget our brains at the door, parental units? And then, to make matters worse;
2. After the stupid judgement, they declare, along the lines of: 'You broke our rules, but we do basically understand why you did it.' Wait…WHAT?! If you bloody well understand why he did it, then why are you grounding him? It’s like they are saying: “We understand that you absolutely had to immobilise the man that was about to stab you in the face. But, because that is against federal law, you get 5 years grounding.”      

      Other Things that Infuriated Mr. Austro-Hungarian:
The world was two-dimensional. Do I understand that the plot was, for the most part, driven by a young man who is sitting in his room and talking to a recorder whilst getting ready for prom? Yes.

(N.B: Not to mention that, in amongst the monologues, it apparently takes Chris an hour to spike his hair. Really? It took me less than that to shower and straighten my hair that was thicker than the Amazon…and that is saying something. Get some gel that actually holds your hair, Chris – maybe then it will seep into your brain and cause you to call your penis by an anatomically correct name. It’s a noble thought.)

But I digress. I do understand that a short story is not generally going to be fleshed out to the same degree as a novella/novel. I also understand that there is slightly less room to build the three dimensions a story needs, although it’s very much possible. But this story severely lacked the world I so desperately needed.

This also became evident when I realised there would be no conflict in this story; this made the book quite disappointing, in the sense that it almost made the world more unrealistic. Every potential moment where there could have been tension or conflict, it was shut down by the characters basically saying this:

“I should be angry with you. Or upset, or livid, or just plain bitchy…but instead, HAVE A PIECE OF CAKE!”

However, the biggest problem I had with the story was that I did not see a point, in the sense that the storyline can be basically pinned down to a love story that occurred because Chris found out he liked men…and in a big way. He was going out with his female (now) best friend, was popular, but there was ‘something missing’. And he found it, in Josh.

Now, where this plot fell short was that there was absolutely no reason Chris should have repressed his sexual identity until that point. I know, I know – it can happen. But there is usually a reason. “My family are devout -insert religious denomination here- and I am scared of coming out/it is wrong” “I have a homophobic upbringing” etc, etc.

Yes, it was touched on that Chris may have homophobic friends, and I have no doubt that the popular gang he was with would have their fair share of jocks that love to spew vitriol at men who are homosexual…if this “touched on” component of the story hadn’t consisted of roughly one/two lines.
Chris also seems to be scared about how his parents may react to his sexuality. But this baffles me, because, again, let me re-acquaint you with Chris’ parents:

“I should be angry with you, or upset, or livid, or just plain bitchy…but instead, HAVE A PIECE OF CAKE!”

There was absolutely no indication that his parents would have reacted in any way but unequivocal support for Chris. They supported everything he did, and were nice about everything they could be. (Heck, grounding was a nice experience!) I think they weren’t the type to absolutely commit a 180 and create WWIII about sexual identity.

And this is also why I am utterly confused by Chris’ denial-to-the-point-of-not-even-thinking-about-men point of view at the beginning. Then he seems to have discovered his urges for men when he meets the man of his dreams, and this confuses me even more. Wouldn’t this event have sparked an even bigger denial response within Chris, if the denial was so pertinent to him? I guess the conclusion to this question is that Josh was simply the catalyst that sparked Chris’ interest in men, but I find this too odd and incongruous to the, albeit limited, backstory.

I've noticed that other people have enjoyed Dear Diary. Be sure to have a look at all reviews as we all see things differently. For me, personally, I found a number of problems that stopped me from enjoying it.  I suppose the story wasn’t badly written. But I found the combination of poor word choices,  two dimensional  people and world, and inconsistent psychology with regards to the major plot led me to give this short story two stars.