Star football player Jack Miller had it all. The perfect family, looks, girls hanging on his every word, and the respect of most people in his town. But one thing was missing - a man to be his own.
When Andrew Collins showed up in small-town, conservative Sweet, Georgia, he looked more scrawny mutt than high school senior. Andrew's plan was to keep his head down and graduate high school, leaving his family behind to start his real life.
When he meets Andrew, Jack thinks he's found heaven, but reality holds him in check until one night when his lips gently slide across Andrew's and fireworks go off.
As lust and something a little deeper brings them together, compelling them to take chances, people start to notice. Then the unthinkable happens, and Jack's parents find out he likes guys. The battle lines are drawn and they vow to pray the gay away.
©2014 Sara York (P)2014 Sara York
This book was recommended to me by my sister and i'm glad she did. Sara York takes on two of societies sensitive and conflicting subjects. This book reinforces my belief that homosexuality is not a choice but is innate. Why would anyone choose to be abused, controlled in the ways this book portrays. I almost forgot this book was fiction as this story is so powerful. Jack and Andrew are truly in love and yet have to keep their love hidden from everyone. Jacks father is the most hippo-critical minister who physically abuses his son whilst Andrews parents choose to control their sons sexuality by food deprivation.
The lines between fiction and the true reality of life are blurred in such a powerful and disturbing way throughout this book. Jason Frazier has done an excellent job narrating this book, he portrayed Billy, a seven year old and obviously gay young boy extremely well.
The only negative, being that as i am blind using audible books is my only way of reading novels and after listening to the first part of this trilogy i was dismayed to discover the other two installments are not available on audio as of yet......If i had known this i wouldn't have purchased this title as it has left me frustrated as the first installment is a truly great piece of writing yet it seems i may never get to experience these characters full journey.
Where is my happy ending????
"Gay raised in the south & religous homes must read"
I personal grew up in the South and my father was a Baptist minister. Sara York understands the unspoken rule that a Southern ministers family must portray the "image of perfection". The second rule is that "parents are always right" and "children are always wrong". Southern culture often places ministers and their families as examples of the "perfect family". Therefore, if you are gay then you must lie or die but never shame the family by telling the truth. That is what this book is about. I personally know how accurate her image is of a Southern ministers family is because I grew-up in such a family. It is what all gay youth should never face.
The accurate depicting of what an ultra religious ministers family.
Jason Frazier ability to switch voice between adult and child stimulates the emotional power of this performance.
The last two chapter bought me to tears and anger. The level of intensity caused my to yell out "hit the basted and fight back". However, It very hard to fight back when you think your actions have the power to destroy those that you love.
"Heartbreaking and Beautiful tale of young love."
I don't know, I've only listened.
Billy! I cannot wait to listen to his story. When Frazier spoke those words that York so beautifully wrote, "I don't think God made me right." I literally died! I had to stop and walk away from the story for a few days, it just broke my heart. It endeared me to the character though, and I'm excited to see where Billy's journey takes him.
The youth of the characters. His voice is vibrant and exciting when needed, and then it's defeated and broken down as well. I loved the voice he gave these characters.
Anyone on the outside looking in would think that Jack Miller has the picture perfect life. Star football player, well behaved son of the local Preacher and a ton of great friends. If you looked through the well-hidden cracks in the surface, you would see the truth. Jack is miserable trying to be someone he is not, his father is the very definition of the word hypocrite, his family is a stone’s throw away from falling apart, and all those friends that gather around him, they are only there because of Jack’s status.
Andrew Collins and his parents move to Jack’s small town in an effort to escape the scandal in their last town when Andrew was caught kissing another young man. His parents are emotionally distant, controlling and verbally abusive at best. When the Preacher at their new church suggests that his son Jack be a shoulder for Andrew to lean on while he adjusts to life in the new town, no one could know the ramifications of the two young men becoming friends.
When two kindred spirits unite they will recognize each other straight away. That is what happens with Jack and Andrew. They fall hard and fast and do the best they can to keep their budding romance a secret from everyone. When their parents learn the truth behind their relationship the results are both volatile and disturbing.
I will start by saying this story is very dark, dramatic, angsty and deep. But there is also love and understanding between the two young men that lead the story. Jack knows he is gay but he hides his sexuality from everyone for fear of how they will react. Besides, he is the star quarterback and the Preachers eldest son, a certain appearance is expected of him, one that does not include an attraction to the same sex. Andrew got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so to speak, and his life has been a living hell ever since. His parents use demeaning tactics like fasting and starvation to ensure their son walks the line, or at least their line that is. So while the way these two young men were treated by their own parents, the people that are supposed to love them unconditionally, made my blood boil; I have to give York credit for making their time together something beautiful and intriguing. Jack and Andrew are both very young and inexperienced. York captures that youth, inexperience and vulnerability perfectly in the story and its equal parts endearing and heart breaking.
Narrated by Jason Frazier and I really enjoyed how his voice was as young as the characters were. He really captured that jock persona for Jack while keeping true to the awkward and unsteady aspect of Andrew. I felt like he completely immersed himself in these characters so I had a feel and vision of what they would be like we’re I to meet them in real life. And oh my word, Jack’s father, between York’s creation of this monster on paper and Frazier bringing this vile human being to life, he literally made me sick. By the end of the story I just wanted to climb into my I-pod and strangle him with my bare hands, then grab Jack and Andrew and hug them until they passed out.
While the story is difficult at times to listen to, it’s so well written and conveyed, I have to list it as a must read. I love when an author can take on controversial subjects, like a small Georgia town stuck in the middle ages and a hypocritical minister and tell them in such a way that I am engaged throughout. I was born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia, so I know first-hand that what York wrote in this story is sadly true to fact more often than not. Add to that Frazier’s narration that chronicled this journey for Jack and Andrew with such emotions as awe, shock, concern and love and I don’t see how you could pass this one up.
Be warned if you have triggers… this story contains scenes of violence. But there is also love and compassion thrown in the mix.
"Story was okay but the narrator was excellent."
Some parts of this story were painful to listen to. Andrew and Jack's parents were so over-the-top homophobic and hiding their disgusting viewpoints under the banner of religion that I wished I could reach into this story and smack them all. Jason Frazier's narration added emotion to what would otherwise have just been a typical abused gay teenagers story, transforming what would otherwise have been a boring read into something I'll probably listen to again.
"Romeo and Romeo"
This is the 1st book of a trilogy which appears to me to be inspired by Romeo and Juliet; complete with overly emo teenagers being dramatic. Once I figured that out, the MCs actions and dialogue made a lot more sense. This is the story of two “star crossed gay teenagers” living in a small town in Georgia with 3 of the 4 parents as homophobic bigots. They fall in love almost instantly and profess it to each other frequently. The dialogue is a bit stilted and not at all the way teenagers talk, but if fits with the Shakespearean couple this romance is based upon. It is really sweet and I really felt for these boys and all they have to go through.
What I also like about this story is that it is not anti-God or even anti-religion. Both MCs believe in God and pray regularly. However, the "man of god" in this story claims to be Christian but has no problem threatening his kids with death; it is that kind of crazy. There are some twists, turns and kink in their story which in a way takes away from the struggle. Although I did like the weaving in of a transgender seven year old sibling, that was unique and touching.
The narrator does a great job and his voice is perfect for these two boys. He really puts the right amount of emotion in the storytelling. All that said, yes there are some illogical leaps and assumptions in the story. Such as the way Child Protective Services is portrayed. These two are 18 in the book, although their maturity level appears more like 16. Generally CPS are not involved with 18 year old. But I had to look past that and go with the romance and struggle and I really enjoyed getting wrapped up into this story.
In reading the blurbs for the next two books (which are not on audio yet) I think I’m going to have to buy the written book. There appears to be mucho drama down the road for these two. Definitely worth a credit if you are going to continue the series as this book ends on a cliffhanger.
"A bit conflicted on this one..."
Whereas this book has a good story line and idea, not to mention a great narrator, it is hard to get to know the characters, due to their constant departures from what we are presented with as their upbringing and personalities throughout the book.
Jack's character is never fully developed when Andrew enters the story, and although Andrew is given more of a back story than Jack, there is no real explanation for how quickly things develop between the two them, despite their religious upbringing and fear of discovery.
The characters know essentially nothing about each other, yet decide to make life changing decisions within a week of meeting based on remaining in each other's lives forever.
The plot remains interesting, though somewhat repetitive at times, and continues to build to a climax. Then suddenly, the book ends without warning or any loose ends being mended.
I had no idea when I purchased it, that this was supposed to be a series of books and felt somewhat cheated that there was no ending at all and no completed installment that I could purchase right away to satisfy my curiosity.
I will probably buy the second book, but if it is more of the same - I am done with the series; because I didn't realize I was buying into a series.
It was a good story, i liked it and the narrator was really good. The ending was quite abrupt. it just like ended randomly. hopefully its going to be a serial, the readers should be warned so we know what to expect.
a very provocative and heart felt read. interesting use of characters and good story line
"Intense Story with Very Deep Emotional Undertones"
This book was an unexpected surprise. Through the first few chapters, I didn't quite know what to think. However, the further I progressed, the more emotionally connected I felt with the story. Although the starving and beating seemed to be an extreme take on punishment in this story, the underlying tones of secrecy and lies from growing up as a gay child ring true. Unless you have experienced the need to hide who you really are, you may not truly feel the emotions Sara York has captured in her tale.
Jason Frazier adds his style and class to this audiobook, making the characters come to life. His ability to draw you into the story is uncanny. I couldn't help but hang onto every word; he made me feel like I was truly part of this exceptional tale.
"A heart wrenching, thought provoking story..."
The whole "A Southern Thing" series ranks right at the top!
Difficult question... of course, Jack and Andrew were front and center and I was entranced by both of them. Jack struggling to hide his sexuality and Andrew to stay alive. Both mature beyond their years and struggling with difficult narrow minded abusive parents.
Jason Frazier has the ability to capture each and every character's personality with his voice. He is able to make you feel all the emotions radiating from each character and boy was this book emotional! When he spoke in little 7 year old Billy's voice I just melted. And don't get me started on the romantic scenes...
Yes and I was able to listen to it all in two sittings while traveling!
This is a must read for every single person - gay or straight - it will change you for the better.
"Standard story, religious family with a gay son."
My biggest issue with this book is that I don’t want to be told how to feel, and that’s what the author did here. It was quite preachy but it didn’t allow me to draw my own conclusions and it was also one-dimensional. The narrator was actually pretty good and kept me listening but I wanted something a little different than stereotypes.
Jack Miller was the son of a small Georgia town’s preacher and also the star of the high school football team. He had everything, except the freedom to love who he wanted. It seems that his father had noticed some traits that were “sinful” about Jack, so his father really pushed him to be a “man”.
When a new family, the Collins moved to town, they asked the preacher to help them start over. Their son Andrew Collins has afflicted with the sin of gayness and they are hoping being around good people will redirect Andrew’s sinful ways. If Jack could mentor Andrew and show him how a real man was, maybe Andrew could be saved. Now Jack finally found a kindred spirit, but they have to bide their time. Jack is being recruited to play football by many colleges around the country, so if they can keep their love a secret, once they get out of Sweet, Georgia, they can finally be free to be together.
But Jack’s father found some incriminating things on Jack’s computer. What will happen to Jack, the preacher’s son and town football star if anyone found out he was gay?
This story was written in an elementary manner. It also ended in a silly cliff hanger designed to make you quickly pick up the next one. Unfortunately I didn’t find the story compelling enough to want book 2. It wasn’t the grammar errors that bothered me; the story just lacked the requisite emotion to draw me. I didn’t “feel” the plight and that prevented me from truly connecting with the characters.
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