Title: Lucky Linus
Author Name & Publisher: Gene Gant (Harmony Ink Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 23, 2015 – 96 pgs
Is the possibility of fulfilling your heart’s desire worth the risk of breaking it?
Fourteen-year-old Linus Lightman is understandably reluctant to trust his newest foster family, the Nelsons, after he’s bounced through the system since being being taken from his neglectful mother. He’s certain they will reject him when they find out he’s gay, and getting to know them will only lead to hurt later. Trying to cope, he builds a friendship with Kevin Mapleton, and it quickly grows into romance, despite Linus’s fears. Then a video of Linus and Kevin having sex is posted online, and Linus knows from past experience exactly what’s going to happen. This sort of scandal will cost him his new home and Kevin’s love, snatching away his fragile hopes of belonging.
Triggers: Physical and Sexual abuse of minors, foster care
So, before I get to the characters of this story, I just wanted to put out there that while this book touches on some very hard matters, it was a more of a “coming of age” story than what I was expecting. I really enjoyed the story line – it made me laugh and cry all in the same short time span, which was amazing given the short length of the story. This story packs a punch up front and a roundhouse kick in the middle, but as a reader, I only came out of the other side with a few bruises and some tears.
Linus is a character that you just want to hold on to and never let go. While he begins his life with so many troubles – more so that any one person should ever have to deal with, he does not become this mad, hateful character. His spirit is resilient and because of that, he is able to withstand a lot of crap in his young life. I really had a love – hate relationship with his view points. I hated that he did not have anyone whom he could trust (including his caseworker, because he didn’t want to move) and I loved that I was able to read how he was feeling and why. I cried for him and rejoiced with him – all because he was such a strong character who wanted to trust.
Then you have Andy. I LOVED how Andy was with Linus. That even though he might not have understood what was happening with his brother, he cared enough to seek out answers – not giving up on getting them. Then you have his sister Wendy who was amazing in her own right. Defending her brother – even to the detriment of her own self goals. That was something that Linus needed to be shown – he needed people in his life to fight for him. The Nelson’s parents are loving and want to help Linus in any way that they can. They try to make him comfortable, but also know when to lay down the law. I liked their calm manners, but I also liked how Gant showed that sometimes, parents can create perceptions that are not understood by teens – that sometimes, being able to talk about perceptions is as important as teaching their kids right from wrong.
Kevin on the other hand – it was hard to feel anything but sympathy for his losses in life. I loved how he loved Linus and hated how he loved Linus too. Both of these boys had gone through so much that when they met – they already had so many strikes against them, it made their connection even stronger because they could relate.
This book showed how too often, kids are left to their own devices, left to cope in the only way they can and sometimes, all it takes is one adult to see, truly see the kid for who they are in order for the kid to be able to become who they want to be. This is both a sad and happy story, but one that was well written and honest.
Gene Gant lives with his family in a small, rural community in West Tennessee. He has been a ghost writer for many years and is looking forward to publishing more works under his own name.