Disclaimer: I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I feel like I should start this review off by saying that I was hoping I would like this book. I was hoping to love it, even, and it hurts my heart a bit that I didn’t.
So, the premise of this book is interesting, but it was just executed very poorly. Besides the bland characters, the lack of backstories, and the random gay racist, the story just happened TOO FAST. I feel like the plot, or lack thereof, wasn’t fully fleshed out like it could have been. So many diverse characters — from a Native American boy who has diabetes and depression, an Asian-American boy who’s dealing with… something, the snarky girl friend who tells it like it is, and the aforementioned racist who’s also the “gay spy” for the bishop — you’d think this story would be more solid.
Adam is a 17-year-old aspiring graphic novelist and is understandably struggling with his sexuality, for fear of his uber-conservative, Christian parents finding out. The story opens with him in the mall with a high school friend, Mike, who’s flamboyantly gay, and they get “found out” by some nosy Christian neighbor and her daughter who act like they caught the two boys humping among the racks in The Gap when they were only half-assed looking at clothes (because, apparently, two boys can’t go shopping together and remain straight). Adam’s nightmare about his parents comes to life, and they send him off to a Christian camp to “pray away the gay.”
I’m pretty sure I understand what the author was trying to do with this book, by telling just one side of someone’s LGBT story, but it fell flat. As much as I love gay romances in books, I feel like Same Love could have benefited without it. This book seems confused as to what it wanted to do. It wanted to hit on so many things, but in the end, it’s not even long enough to handle so much at once and instead, it’s just rife with cliches and stereotypes. The writing could be better, too, and the dialogue left a lot to be desired.
It’s almost as if the author was desperate to meet the deadline and, instead of taking his time and making sure to tell the story how it should’ve been told, he just decided to throw in every cliche he could think of. And then, without fleshing anything out, typed out words to meet a specific word count. I don’t know how many more times I can say this, but there was so much potential to be had, so much potential.
With it being Pride Month right now, I wanted to get back to the books that not only got be back into reading, but gave me my newfound love of the e-reader (because how else am I going to read the Galleys that I get approved for?). I wanted to read more LGBT stories that aren’t my usual go-to (Josh Lanyon, for example). If the author had just picked a topic and stuck with it instead of trying to insert every character’s drama into a book that doesn’t even seem to be 100 pages, I probably would have enjoyed it more.