Author Name & Publisher: Caitlin Ricci (Harmony Ink Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 26, 2015 – 200 pgs
Going to college gives eighteen-year-old Trey Porter a chance to experience the world beyond rural Alabama and his overbearing family. After staying in a motel due to a housing error at the school, Trey’s friend, Bryce, offers to let Trey stay with him. The fascination Trey feels with Bryce’s gorgeous, glamorous, and somewhat outrageous boyfriend, Co-Co, catches him totally off guard, because Trey’s never considered himself even remotely gay. At least that’s what he’s always believed. Trey prides himself on being tolerant, but it’s hard to handle the questions he faces about life and himself—and even harder to accept that there might be no simple answers.
“Normal is a setting in laundry, noting more”
There is something wonderfully universal about small-town, Southern Trey’s eye-opening experiences as a college freshman. A college identity is always difficult to forge and Trey’s sparkly, gender-fluid new friend Co-Co opens his eyes to all sorts of possibilities he has never considered.
I loved the coming of age story and I loved the romance in this story. Trey’s innocent refusal to judge anyone or any experience gives this story a modern feel. And for a story that tackles huge issues, the author manages to keep it playful and fun without ever being flippant.
Trey’s self-discovery is difficult and heartbreaking at times, but Co-Co and Bryce also have their own stories and their own identities to forge. Together, the three are unique. Confidence breeds confidence and together they just work. Beautifully.
There is more sex here than in most books featuring Ace leads, but as a Harmony book, the sex is only ever suggested and never explicit.
This is a hopeful book that I’d love to offer to every teen questioning “their” identity. The message (and there always seems to be a message in books aimed at teens) is that gender and sexuality comes in many possible permutations. And sometimes – these possibilities make true love bigger and better than we might ever hope for. For once, the message is offered gently, with humour and not from a pulpit. I loved these characters and I loved their relationship.
Harmony Ink has come a long way in a very short time. This is one of the best offerings yet, and I can only hope that every secondary school library orders at least one copy. What an amazing story!