[644]: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

23252517 The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
Series: The Law of Moses, #1
November 27th, 2014 | Self-Published
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.


Part romance, part paranormal, The Law of Moses is one of those books that had a great start but slowly and eventually disintegrated as the story progresses. I’m  a sucker for stories of people who didn’t have a very good luck in life, and Moses’ beginnings were exactly that. I like seeing them overcome all the obstacles that life threw their way, and grow into a different (better?) versions of themselves.  Unfortunately, this book got too long for my taste.

baby in a basket

He was abandoned by his mother when he was an infant –  in a basket, no less. So his upbringing pretty much consisted of being passed around to relatives and foster homes. Amidst all that, there was at least one constant figure in his life that he could call home –  Gigi’s or his grandmother. And in that same neighborhood where she lives was Georgia.

Georgia has always held a strange fascination with Moses. But I don’t even know if you would call theirs a romance. It seemed one-sided from the very start. I’ve never been a fan of characters who treat another character horribly “for their own good”. It seems like a shitty excuse for treating them like crap. Ultimately, it’s one of the reasons that I was not a fan of Moses.

chasing Moses

One of the things I don’t like in romance novels is when girls chase after boys. But in some ways, I understand why Georgia refused to give up on him. She’s got a big heart; genetically programmed to care for someone who’s had a rough life. Georgia is just inherently good. She eventually grew a spine, but only after she’s learned her lessons the hard way.

he sees dead people

Moses is an artist whose work is inspired by restless ghosts with unfinished business. He sees them, but they don’t talk to him. They send messages to their loved ones through Moses’ art. I quite liked reading this aspect of the story even though it kinda spoiled the second half of the story for me. In a way, it’s precognitive of the reason for his reappearance in Georgia’s life several years later. So, yeah.  It was spoiler-y of sorts.

in retrospect

I listened to this in audio a week or so ago. Like I said, it started out good then the plot became sluggish and muddled. I felt like the crimes that had happened throughout the book were so sporadic that it didn’t make sense when it was eventually solved. It was like an addendum instead of being a part of a seamless story. The book went on too long as well. I grew bored midway and had to resist DNF’ing. I think there’s a lot of people who would enjoy this. The romance was good in some parts, but I didn’t like the characters.

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[616]: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

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While I’ve been a fan of reading Romance in Regency London, there is something about this kind of London I’m not too enthused about: Evil lurking in the dark alleys, soul-sucking demons on the prowl, and a secret society tasked to stop this darkness from spreading. While that may sound enjoyable to some, I found my attention straying a number of times whilst in the cusp of this 496-page tome from Alison Goodman.

All told, I was bored. There was no sense of urgency given the severity of what was facing this exclusive club (and the world for that matter). Steampunk has never been my strong suit. And since you can taste a bit of that in this book, it added to the overwhelming feeling of ennui. The story moved in the most sluggish pace that I could tolerate. I kept hoping that there would be something great to look forward to around the bend, but everything was irritatingly flaccid and predictable. There were no valleys or peaks. Even the confrontations between Reclaimers and Deceivers fell in a resounding thud.

If you’re looking for any romance, it might be best if you look somewhere else. The characters held no personality whatsoever, and at times, the tensions between Lady Helen and Lord Carlston seemed forced. I admire the struggle that Lady Helen went through in order to make a decision on what she needed to do, but it took her forever and a day to come to a conclusion. Her waffling didn’t help any either.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m so glad I don’t live in that time when I’m expected to be subversive, mild-mannered and dependent on the menfolk. I probably would’ve ended up in the dungeon if it were the case.

REASONS TO READ THE DARK DAYS CLUB

  • If you’re a fan of Regency London.
  • If you like reading about demons and the secret society that can defeat them.
  • If you wouldn’t mind waiting for a heroine to come into her powers (which might happen in the next book because she was sorely disappointing in this one).
  • If you like slow burn romance.
  • If you enjoy steampunk(ish) reads.

    GOODREADS SUMMARY | Viking Books for Young Readers | January 26th, 2016 | Chapters | Amazon


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[599]: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

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I must admit that my initial reaction when I heard that Judy Blume was coming out with a new novel was ecstasy. Imagine being a part of a generation that lives in the same era as beloved as Ms. Blume?  I can only imagine it being a blessing to some. And this from a reader who didn’t grow up reading her books. Her reputation proceeds her. In as much as Margaret Atwood and Stephen King in their respective genres.

This book, however, was not what I’d expected. The biggest obstacle for me was the lack of concise plot direction. The story was about the events that happened back in 50’s when a town in New Jersey was plagued with air disasters. This tells the story of the people that were affected. I would like to argue that Blume didn’t really explore how, though. In fact, it only showed that their lives turned out every which way simply because – well, life. It went on regardless of the tragedies that happened. No one developed a debilitating fear of flying because they witnessed the plane crashes. It is but a story to be told without any consequent reaction to the reader.

Another hindrance was the overwhelming number of narrators that I had a hard time keeping track of. An overpopulation, as it were. It contributed to my disconnection with the story as a whole. Because when everyone vies for my attention, the more I become stingy with affection. I’m a cold-hearted bitch reader, I know. And I feel doubly bad knowing that Ms. Blume practically wrote this novel all her life. I hate reducing a lifetime of work into a badly-written review. But trust me, it’s not my intention at all. Besides, I’m sure I’m only going to be one faint voice amongst Blume’s rejoicers.


In the Unlikely Event is published by Double Day Canada. Published, June 2nd, 2015. 2 stars out of 5. 


 

 

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[595]: Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

20909906 Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Stand-Alone
Simon & Schuster Canada | ARC Paperback, 385 pp.
Publication Date: November 10th, 2015
Young Adult | Suspense | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…


It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by this author.  I don’t remember what it’s like, but after a few chapters, I was quickly reminded of the kind of writing I was in for. Take that with a grain of salt.

STELLA GORDON IS AN ACQUIRED TASTE

Picture this:  You’re chilling with your buddies one Saturday night. In walks your buddy and his insufferable girlfriend, who, by the way, was on his case again because they were supposed to go see an art show instead of hanging out. An hour of her pestering him and ordering him around was starting to get on your nerves. Everyone in the room was eye rolling at her antics. Because one more bullcrap about them missing out on a once in a lifetime showing and you’re going to projectile vomit (it was melted jelly beans on canvass. Give me a fucking break). Now, you’re trying to resist. You’re trying your best to show support for your buddy and the woman he loves. But good God Almighty, you want to cut a bitch.

THAT is how I felt about Stella. She was petulant, somewhat ungrateful with a huge chip on her shoulders. The way she went on and on about how much her life sucks being in WitSec makes it seemed like she’s been on it for years. In the meantime, it’s only been a few weeks. It may sound like I was a little bit short on patience with her, but she did her best to inspire dislike. She has a problem with authority. You would think witnessing a brutal murder would change her, but nooo. She was awful. Now I know everyone is saying that she goes through a character development throughout the novel, but for me, her attitude left a lasting impression. And that is a shame because I felt like the plot was good. Unfortunately, Stella’s antics took away the spotlight.

IN RETROSPECT

Sometimes, I can already tell when a book wasn’t going to workout in as little as a few pages. It’s the way it’s written and how the character sounds like. I thought Stella acted like an intolerable brat and I couldn’t get past that.  The majority of the novel was focused on Stella adapting to the quiet country life; trying to establish a semblance of normalcy amidst fear of being killed.  Fitzpatrick took some of the stereotypes in farm living and ran with it. The twist was a little off field if a little convenient. I feel awful because, at the end of it all, I was just happy it was over.

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[590]: The Liar by Nora Roberts

23281906-1 The Liar by Nora Roberts
Penguin Publishing Group | Hardcover, 501 pp.
April 14th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Romantic Suspense
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …

The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning …


Whenever I feel the onset of boredom from whatever book I’m reading, I tend to turn to Romantic Suspense to jump start my waning interest. Now, my conventional drug is Sandra Brown, but I’ve always been interested in other authors who are a household name in this genre. Like, Nora Roberts, for example. I haven’t had much experience with her books. Aside from a couple of her In Death books (which I loved), I’ve not had the chance to read anything from her extensive library. This week, I finally decided to check her out for myself.

TILL DEBT DO US PART

Shelby Foxworth has a lot to learn about the man with whom she married. It’s a shame that she had to learn all about him posthumously. Recently widowed, the once prosperous life that she’d grown accustomed to was apparently nothing but a sham. As it didn’t take long for all the debtors to come knocking on her door a few days after her husband “drowned” in a boating accident. In debt to the tune of a couple of million dollars, Shelby meticulously planned out how she would be able to pay all the debts her husband incurred. Little by little, she’d find out that the man she married lived a duplicitous life.

THE ROAD TO TENNESEE IS LONG

Shelby was one of those women who has the admirable trait of being able to pick herself up no matter how far she’d fallen. The two-million dollar debt should’ve been debilitating to some, but that didn’t deter her from wanting to move on and build a life for her and her daughter. After finding out that Richard was a con-man who victimized the wealthy, she high-tailed it back to her hometown and into the welcoming arms of her family. Here, she tried to bridge the rift between her and her loved ones when she decided to marry Richard. Because Richard was a controlling husband; one who preferred their wives to be docile and alone.

For the first time in her life, she was able to see that there could be a future for her and Callie, her daughter. Surrounded by family, old friends, and new acquaintances. She also meets Griffin; a man determined to help her see that she could trust a man to take care of her and Callie without having to incapacitate her independence.

The novel is long and arduous, unfortunately. I am not that familiar with her method of storytelling, but I felt like it could’ve used a chunk of trimming. Since this book was supposed to be Romantic Suspense, it was neither romantic nor suspenseful. In fact, the mystery was so transparent that a reader could see the twist from the get-go.

IN RETROSPECT

This book is not in the speed of her In Death series. It was slow – as slow as molasses in the winter. In my opinion, the story could’ve been told in 300 pages or less. But I suppose Roberts wanted to show Shelby go through a reborn of sorts.

 

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Throwback Thursday [12]: Standoff by Sandra Brown

30378 GOODREADS SUMMARY
Grand Central Publishing
Hardcover, 224 pp.
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2000
Adult Fiction | Suspense | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


TV reporter Tiel McCoy is driving to New Mexico for a well-earned vacation when she hears the news on the radio: The teenage daughter of Fort Worth tycoon Russell Dendy has been a kidnapped. Immediately, she abandons her holiday plans to chase down what could be the scoop of a lifetime.

But in a town called Rojo Flats an innocuous stop at a convenience store thrusts her directly into the dramatic story–and a dangerous drama. For inside the shop two desperate young lovers are holding a half dozen frightened hostages … and a powder keg of a standoff is about to test Tiel’s courage, journalistic objectivity, and everything she has ever believed.


I didn’t think it was possible, folks. I didn’t think I’ll ever find a book by Ms. Brown that I didn’t like. In her defence, the book was shorter than usual, so perhaps therein lies the crux of my problem with this book. I have even considered not reviewing this book at all, but I felt like writing one anyway because I want to show you that  I can give bad reviews from authors that I greatly admire.

This story is once again set in Texas. This time, it features an ambitious reporter who found herself a hostage to a gun-toting teenager and his pregnant girlfriend. The kids aren’t in it to harm people, but circumstances have forced their hands. The girlfriend is the daughter of an asshat prominent business man who was against their relationship. He had made threats to separate them and give their baby up for adoption.  It’s as star-crossed as it could get. But as short as this book was, Ms. Brown still somehow managed to squeeze in a sub-plot in there somewhere. They’ll find out that they’re not only facing a squadron of FBI agents and the wrath of Russell Dendy, they also have to contend with a couple of criminals who make their money through human trafficking.

The book happened in a matter of hours. It reads like a complete novel, but I’m sad to say it was severely lacking in substance. I feel like the book wasn’t long enough in order for the reader to form any connection with the characters. Ultimately, that’s why I ended up not really liking this book. It lacked that signature heat between characters as well. And the story didn’t really develop. I was told all the hows and the whys in a deliberate manner. Bottom line, Standoff was not all that memorable. In fact, I’ve already forgotten about it.

 

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[566]: The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff

18910917 The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
MIRA | Kindle Edition
September 1st, 2011
Historical Fiction | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob’s Catholic aunt, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.

Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety—and her marriage vows—in order to help Jacob’s cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma’s relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.


This is my first Pam Jenoff book. I know very little about the kind of books she puts out other than they’re usually historical romance. I have been attracted to stories where the romance is inherently founded on hate. And there could never be a more contemptuous romance than that of a Jewish girl and a German officer.

Emma Bau has only been married to her husband Jacob for merely six weeks before the Germans invaded Poland. Forced to flee, Jacob severed ties with Emma for her safety. She found herself imprisoned in a commune with her people. There, she saw just the kind of life that was in store for them; where disease and hunger slowly killed them one by one. In the dead of night, she was taken by a member of the resistance to live with Jacob’s aunt. An upstanding Polish citizen who was clandestinely helping Jacob’s cause. Through one of her dinner parties, Emma meets the enigmatic Kommandant Richwalder.  The obvious attraction helped convinced the resistance to recruit Emma to their cause. By working with the kommandant,  she could monitor confidential messages that passed through the kommandant’s desk. As the monstrosity of Hitler intensified, so did the growing relationship between Emma and Richwalder. And she would do anything to help the cause, if only to save those that she loves.

The problem that I have with this book is rooted to the fact that Emma didn’t seem to have given much thought as to who Richwalder was. The instant attraction that she felt didn’t really make that much sense to me. There was no ingrained hatred, mostly passing thoughts where she had to remind herself how many Jewish people where dying in the hands of the Germans such as the kommandant. Other than that, it was instant lust all around.

In Emma’s defence, the kommandant seemed to be cut from a different cloth than those of the other officers. We see flashes of guilt, and distaste for what was going on in his watch. Perhaps that was why it was easy for her to fall into bed with him.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything gripping about this book. I did not hold my breath in suspense. She was tasked to retrieve documents that was pertinent to the cause, but the reader never did find out of the consequence of her missions. The most frightening thing that happened here was when she witnessed the pregnant wife of a Rabbi get shot. That was hard to take, but since it happened in the beginning of the novel, the reader had plenty of time to recover. Not that I looked forward to reading the atrocities of the war. I just felt like it was not a good representation of what really happened.

Still, this does not diminish my interest with her books. In fact, I picked up a couple of more in the same vein. I’m looking forward to reading them only to get a better grasp on her story telling. I really hope I’ll like them more than I did with this one.

 

 

 

 

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[557]: Incandescent by River Savage

incandescentIncandescent [Knight’s Rebels MC, #1] by River Savage
Self-Published | Kindle Edition
August 9th, 2014
Adult Fiction | Romance | Erotica
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Phoenix ‘Nix’ Knight thought pulling his club out of the illegal shit his Pops got them into was difficult.

Until he meets Kadence.

Kadence Turner has no business lusting over a student’s father, especially the president of the Knights Rebels MC. Nix is crass, obnoxious and dangerously sexy and for some reason, Kadence can’t seem to hate him for it. The bossy biker breaks down her defenses, but unlike the old Kadence, the woman she is today won’t give in without a fight.

The tension is undeniable, the attraction fierce. A man that wants what he wants and a woman that will fight him every step of the way.


I have a weakness for tattooed bikers. I don’t know what it is about them that make them irresistible. Never mind that they tend to be Neanderthals in and out of the bedroom. Never mind that they expect you to drop everything when they snap their fingers. But the more I sit here and think about why I find them irresistible, the more I realize it’s not so much as the men I’m attracted to, but the thrill of seeing them brought to their knees. Usually, by women.  

…I could try and tell myself that it’s a legitimate reason, but I know I’m lying. Truth is, I have this unhealthy addiction to men in leather chaps jackets.  And may have this sick fantasy of being ordered around. The thing is, I’m tired of cracking the whip. I deal with it enough at work. And my husband is a lamb. We rarely, rarely ever fight. So perhaps, that’s the underlying reason why I like reading books like these in the comfort of my darkened closet. 

Anyway.

I wish I can tell you what the story is about. Unfortunately, for an introduction to a series, the plot was relatively wrinkle free. These type of books are a dime a dozen. But once in a while, an author will attempt creativity by giving it their own spin. Therein lies the problem. They try so hard to make them less of a cliché by removing the drugs and crime elements of it.  But then again, I don’t know any bikers in real life. I’m fed with the information I read in Erotica books. They tell me bikers are baaaad to the bone. They deal with drugs, prostitution – or worse, human trafficking. The Knight Rebels are do-gooders.  Short of helping your grandma cross the road, they could be altar boys. They help abused women leave their violent homes. Their territory is drug free. However, as much as I admire them, the attempt at being different loses their MC street cred.  They’re not lame, per se. Just…tame.

Nix is every bit your stereotypical leader of the pack. You can’t pick him in a line up of every MC prez you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading in the past. Kadence is a…wait for it…school teacher, but far from prim and proper. Over all, this book is enjoyable enough. It doesn’t require that much thinking, or empathy. You just go with it. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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[549]: The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

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The House of the Four Winds / Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory


Let the record show that I will keep reading books from this genre until I find one that I can legitimately love. Today is not the day, however.

In the  tiny kingdom of Swansgaard, there lived 12 princesses and one prince. While it is wealthy by any kingdom’s standards, it is wealthy enough to provide dowries for all of the princesses. One day, the duke decreed for all his daughters to find their own adventures. This novel is the story of the first daughter to reach the ripe age of 18.

Clarice have always wanted to see the world. Determined to seek her own adventures, she disguised herself as a man on a voyage to New World. The captain of the ship was an evil man. He doled out whippings for every tiny misdeeds, and he didn’t care for justice. Soon, the entire ship was under mutiny. Clarice Clarence found herself the new captain’s first mate. Dominique was the exact opposite of the man whose title he assumed. He was kind, charming, and just. Clarice soon fell for him. In Assassino, she gets more than what she bargained for: an island under a spell, sea monsters,   ice voyage and treasures!

This book to me feels like I took a road trip with my excitable family only I didn’t get what there was to be excited about. I’ll tell you one thing, if I ever decide to tackle another fantasy book, I’ll make sure there’s not to be mention of ships, pirates, sea voyage, and salted pork ever again.

The initial draw of this book was Clarice’s role as a cross-dressing nobleman. The revelation was anti-climactic, to be honest. And if you’re expecting fireworks in the romance department, check that expectation by the harbour. You will not find it here. Bottomline, this was a sleep-inducing novel. The narrative was pretty dry, and the chemistry between characters was non-existent. The only thing I look forward to was the word, A C K N O W L E D G  E M E N T in the end.


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Tor Books | August 4th, 2014


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[540]: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Push | Hardcover, 288 pp. | May 26th, 2015 | Young Adult Fiction | LGBT | Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Somewhere along the way, this book’s purpose got lost in the writer’s attempt to channel his inner teen. Somewhere along the way, I got distracted by Elle Goulding’s incessant Eeeeeh eeeeee eeee (don’t ask). Nothing much happened in Anything Could Happen. Besides the predictability of the outcome, this book was not as emotionally gripping as what you would expect from one that tackles such a socially relevant and important subject.

The plot meandered quite a bit. In an attempt to give Tretch more layers, it only prolonged what was an otherwise straight-forward plot. To be honest, this book was over by the halfway mark, because his lamentations about coming out to his family and friends didn’t really have a basis. I’m not trivializing it, because I can only imagine how difficult that must be. He just wasn’t a convincing character. It was not a good representation of what teens with the same issues go through. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say, his fear of coming out was manufactured. As bad as that may sound, that’s how I perceived the character to be.

Also, there are family dramas that didn’t really do much to help the plot progression nor garner empathy/sympathy. What’s more, the family drama stole the limelight from the intended real issue (Tretch’s struggle with his sexuality). Which is unfortunate, because you can see flashes of Will Walton’s almost brilliant writing buried in the rubble of teen angst.

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