by Connie Bailey, contemporary (2008)
Dreamspinner Press, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-935192-26-8
Wait, is this supposed to be what happens when we cross the Pretty In Pink movie with yaoi influences? Connie Bailey's True Blue sounds like an interesting offering. Just to set the mood, I have all the right music, from the Simple Minds' Don't You (Forget About Me) to the Pet Shop Boys' Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money), on constant rotation in the background.
So here I am, reading about the adventures of the new kid in Acton-Pierce Academy, Heydn Case, and how this blue collar kid surrounded by trust fund kids will eventually have to choose between his unexpected popularity with his peers and his relationship with the resident outcast Blue Barclay. Can a jock truly find happiness with a computer geek? Of course, since this is a romance, we will pretend that they will not go their separate ways after graduation, where they will meet someone else along the way, and break up messily over the phone, only to cheat on their current spouses twenty years later by having noisy drunken sex in the high school washroom during the reunion.
I like Heydn, although with a name like that, I'm surprised he gets through a few weeks in the Academy without being ragged upon. He's a nice guy, if a little too much like a stereotypical "nice farmboy in the big city" type of character.
I am, unfortunately, not fond of Blue at all. What does anyone ever see in this miserable and humorless brat who thinks he is too good for anything? Oh, I understand teenage angst - we have all been there, I'm sure, and we have all believed once upon a time that we know the answers to everything and anything. But Blue is such a painful character to follow, especially when he begins lashing out at Heydn for daring to "sell out", so to speak. Why can't we have a charming outcast like Judd Nelson's character in The Breakfast Club instead of this fellow with a permanent scowl on his face? I suspect that the only reason Haydn would like this fellow is because (a) Blue gives out and (b) Haydn hadn't met anyone better.
The story is readable, although there are moments when I find myself wondering whether young men actually speak the way the guys in this story do. Fortunately, such moments are not numerous enough to pull me out of the story. It's just too bad that at the end of the day one half of the couple is a humorless emo twerp who could use a brand new personality transplant.
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