It's 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford's life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he's living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There's no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall - not even any MTV. The entire school's smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn't fit in.
Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody's dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate's dad says Cody's bad news. The other kids say he's trash. But Nate knows Cody's a good kid who's been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he's beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.
Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.
©2016 Marie Sexton (P)2016 Riptide Publishing
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"Low on steam high on feels"
This is a very unexpected book. Marie Sexton definitely knows how to write some angst – and this has it in spades! – but she also knows how to give us the warm feels to make the angst less painful.
She gives us two boys in rural Wyoming in the 80s. Not a gay friendly time or place. UGH! There’s no internet to help them figure things out, no community to help, and lots of scary AIDS information out there.
In addition, we also have some distinct class issues and then there’s the individual family dramas playing out as well – like there’s not enough to angst about!
Nate, stuck in Nowhere Wyoming from the relative hip and large town of Austin, TX is stuck in his last year of high school – who does that to a kid? – having to make new friends. He can take the “easy” track and stick with the “upper class” kids in town or stick with his gut – and hang out with the town pariah – the guy who is actually interesting. Luckily, Nate’s a great guy and he makes the right choices.
Cody’s mom is all alone, doing what she can to make ends meet. Sometimes things she doesn’t want to talk about. The town knows about Cody and his mom and then… there’s the gay thing. Somehow the little town finds out Cody’s most hidden secret and they won’t let it go. (This is the state that killed Matthew Shepard in 1988.)
Cody and Nate become friends over the summer, but trouble starts when school begins. Nate has to make some decisions, but Cody has to let him in, too.
The ending is surprisingly decided and sweet – a bit more than I was expecting – but I’m so, so glad for it.
This book hit me on a personal level because that small town in Wyoming could have been my town. I was a child of the 80s (not gay) but definitely not in the “popular crowd” and small town politics are the same everywhere aren’t they?
I know exactly how it feels to live in a town and your only fantasy is about the day you graduate so you can leave and never look back.
I thought Marie did an amazing job of letting the fear be real but not crushing for these boys. She gave them some real hope in a way that felt plausible and authentic. We don’t get a lot of smexy times – but that felt appropriate and the HFN feels like a potential for a solid HEA – and again, it felt appropriate.
I guess this book just really made me think and be thankful we live in a “different” world now… at least there’s more information out there and resources and less? fear… I hope so at least. If nothing else, there’s an alternative to the fear.
(On a lighter note – all the 80s references were great – phone books, no MTV, no internet, Pretty In Pink… loved it!)
John Solo is a solid narrator. He has a lovely voice quality, no sound errors and a great grasp for timing and emotion. He gave Nate a smoother, more cultured voice and Cody the rougher – suiting their characters. I think this was a great way to enjoy this book and I enjoyed listening to it.
I highly recommend it and give it 4.5 of 5 stars
(PS Isn’t the cover wonderful?!)
"A romance with bite"
The encounter of Nate and Cody, two charming and finely drawn characters, and their attendant, less charming, family members and, even worse, fellow inhabitants of a typically backward American town, is expertly narrated by John Solo. He deserves special credit for his alternation of voices for all the main players. Some scenes are intensely moving--the Christmas Day is heartbreaking in its pathos--but the overall drive of the narrative is courageously positive and affirmative of the power of love in a hostile environment. The author maintains a generally high standard throughout and the pacing is perfect. I didn't want it to end, but when it did I experienced an uplift of happiness rare in books of this kind. Warmly recommended!
"A great coming of age, coming out NA romance"
Cody lives in the trailer park in Warren Wyoming. He is in his senior year and wants nothing more than to get out. He knows that's not gonna happen with no job or money. His mom works in a truck stop 40 miles away, drives a piece of crap car that barely runs, and they don't make enough to pay just utilities and hardly any food.
Cody meets a new guy at the convenience store in the summer before school starts. Nate is preppy and lives in the wealthier part of town but wants to hang out. Cody doesn't delusion himself that it will last after school, that Nate will group off with his own clique.
Nate isn't what Cody thinks. He has his problems too, not wanting to leave his mom and come to a hick town with nothing to do or no friends. Nate is angry with his father for several reasons. Nate soon finds the Orange Grove kids are the bad crowd, doing drugs and stuff and he wants nothing to do with them. He likes Cody and would like to hang with him.
The story has many twists and turns, some sad parts and evokes lots of emotion.
Ths is my first book narrated by John Solo, and I fell in love with his voice immediately. I loved the narration, the voice and how he drew me into the action and kept me hanging.
This book is now on my favorites list. If you're looking for something both happy and sad, about life, love and growing up, and an all over fabulous story. Trailer Trash is definitely for you.
I highly recommend it if you love a good New Adult Romance.
"Feels so familiar"
I grew up in the 80s & wish I was as self aware as these two. But more to the point, I remember all of this, all these emotions, the world in general making me think I need to hide myself for sure even though I didn't even have myself figured out yet, the AIDS epidemic on the news everywhere and SF being so close to me it was hot here & made me feel different and doomed for it.
Love this book. Never thought I'd have a romance novel on my list of favorites.
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