I call this story my “milk chocolate” book because it’s sweet, delicious and pure. It’s about young love, teen angst, and that ever present heat of connection and attraction that can take over your life.
What’s it all about?
On a deeper level, it’s a story about identity and coming of age. It’s easy to be defined by what others think of you, and both Skyler and Ryan are struggling with this.
Skyler has briefly found a sense of belonging with his first boyfriend, but quickly discovers that there are essential parts of himself that don’t fit into Jeremy’s world or their relationship. After the breakup, this initial foray into the gay community feels like a huge failure.
Ryan has enjoyed the tight knit group of athletic guys at school, but as grade 12 progresses, he becomes disillusioned with the superficial relationships and lack of loyalty from people he thought were his friends. He’s looking at graduation with a sense of dread that he’s wasted his time on sport, while others have been planning their careers.
Both of them are newly alone after feeling like they were a part of a group, and sensing this rawness in each other is how they connect.
It’s also a story about orientation and exploring what actually feels authentic for each person. Skyler has come to terms with his homosexuality quite young, but is struggling with what’s expected of him as a gay man. Ryan is drawn to Skyler, both emotionally and physically, and this forces him to reevaluate what that means for his identity, and how he labels his past.
There are also some darker secondary characters in this book that reappear in book 2, King of Rain. I’ve had readers who said that they didn’t expect to like 2nd book, because these characters were such a-holes, and then the slow dawning love for them was wonderful. And I’ve had readers who swore that reading book 2 first was better because you understand the “bad guys” from the inside out, in ways that you never could in book 1.
I’m happy that the order works either way – which was my intent and hope.
Hope you enjoy them both!