Truman L. Cobbler has not had an easy life. It's bad enough people say he looks like Donkey from Shrek. He also suffered the death of his policeman father and his mother's remarriage to a professional swindler, who cost them everything. Now dirt poor, they live in the barrio of San Antonio, Texas.
When Tru transfers to an inner-city high school halfway through his senior year, he meets Javi Castillo, a popular and hot high school jock. Javi takes an immediate liking to Tru, and the two become friends. The odd pairing, however, rocks the school and sets the cliquish social circles askew. No one knows how to act or what to think when Mr. Popular takes a stand for Mr. Donkey. Will the cliques rise up to maintain status quo and lead Tru and Javi to heartbreak and disaster or will being true to who they are rule the day?
©2014 Jacob Flores (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
Books on Fire are AUDIO books. I listen to one a day & plan to write that review per day as well. NOT normal book reviews - Audio feedback.
This is one of my favorite Flores novels to date. Couldn't put it down. Soo good.
I found the voice a little irritating at times, however I found the story kept my attention and focused. A story of the new new nerdy kid and the jock.
I'm an average sort of bloke. I drive a truck round the uk and have gotten into listening to audiobooks as I drive a round...
Enjoyed this one. One of the better takes on an old theme .. Why does amazon insist on 20 words? Sometimes just a few words work better no wonder no one leaves feedback. Get your act together amazon
A very well written story, but it does not do enough to pull at the heart strings, it does illstrate the problems of gay relationships and peer pressure at school. I for one enjoyed the story, and would reccomend this to other readers. Please ask the writer to do a follow on story, it would be nice to find out if the pair made it and find their happily ever after.
"A famous gay theme, which of course I enjoyed"
This is the basic gay High School student that becomes involved with the popular jock in High School. The main character knows he is gay and others in his school think of him as gay. This version has Hispanic overtones, which is a nice addition. I love "Hispanic" men. The reader had a strange effect on me, he does a great job, and he was easy to listen to, I guess I felt that his reading was like listening to a recording played back at slightly slower speed than originally recorded.
So for me, there wasn't any surprises with this story, but I enjoyed it and the characters I surely cared for. I guess for me it is still surprising that this country is still making this type of story a possibility, what I mean is the need for gay boys to be in the closet still. I know that back when I went to high school, 60's, I was deeply in the closet and at the same time was surely attractive to some of the very cute jocks, as well as none jocks. I guess I was fortunate in that I didn't look or act gay, so my attraction to other boys was a painful experience that NO one else ever guessed at. Thus I am still alive now, for if anyone had ever found out my life would not have been guaranteed for very long.
So the good thing about such stories for myself now is that these types of romances are available for the general public to read. Thus helping other gay boys have the feeling that they are not alone in this world, and even possibly give them hope that some hot jock could be gay. Actually I didn't spend much time in the gym, mainly because I was so shy and totally not interested in being competitive, I am still not that competitive now. If someone threw a ball at me, I would duck, I surely would not try to catch it!! Jocks for me lived in a completely different world. They had other boys as friends and touched each other and joked around. They were also very dangerous boys, they were strong and powerful and therefore could be very threatening for me. Unpredictable I guess. Of course I felt ashamed that I was attracted to them at the same time they scared the shit out of me.
I guess I am talking about myself back when I was in high school, mainly to explain why these types of stories have so much attraction to me now. To be strong, physically active and also beautiful, at least from my point of view, made me feel so attracted to these boys to the point I felt like a moth attracted to a light. This made me very ashamed with myself and I felt there was something truly wrong with me. I could see that girls were beautiful, but I never was interested in them. In some ways I knew I was gay, but at the same time I was in total denial around it. I was raised in a very strict Catholic family and back in the 60’s being gay meant you swished about, liked to decorate, and talked funny and a great many more stereo type beliefs. I could never be like that, thus I just withdrew from life in general. Coming out of my shell just enough to go to school and barely getting passing grades.
There isn't that much sex in this story, which is fine for me. I am a terrible romantic, so I am more interested in the relationship between the two characters. I guess that is what I appreciate about today's world, I don't have to find pornography to read about males being in love with each other, I can find true romantic novels like this one. For me it is a breath of fresh air.
"Anti-bullying story both enhanced and diminished"
The book is told in first person. Yet, the writer's style is better as an omniscient third person narrator. The word choice and phrasing and the many many verbal flourishes don't seem as credible coming from a high school senior.
I was actually much more comfortable with his phrasing in When Love Takes Over. Of course the excesses of Provincetown are a great camouflage for a bit over overwrought writing.
The protagonists are so young that their physical shows of affection are very muted. The epilogue gives us a great chance to see them in a more erotic, less public time.
Listening to a book aloud sometimes highlights the awkwardness of the phrasings and this book has several examples of that, for example "cars' horns blared" sounds much more awkward than "car horns blared" whereas I'd probably not have noticed if I were reading rather than listening.
Narrator Mark Westfield does a commendable job with the narration here giving each character their own "voice" and deftly handling the varying levels of accents some of the Latino characters have. The women's voices are rendered as distinct without taking on the grating falsetto quality so often given them by male narrators. Also there are some special effects of sorts including speeches muffled by shoulders or made hollow by microphones that are well rendered.
"Cheesy teen romance w/ awkward narration"
The story was entertaining, but extremely cheesy. The depictions of high school students were oversimplified stereotypes, to include: the meat-head jocks, ditsy shallow girls, and the poor bullied gay kid. It lacked substance, except for the two main characters who displayed exceptionally mature behavior for teenagers (which made them highly unbelievable).
The narration made me feel uncomfortable at times. I can't say if it was the pronunciation or the affected voices the narrator used, or the timbre of his voice, but it was just very off-putting. There's a part (no spoilers) where the characters are speaking into a microphone, and the narration adds a strange echo effect to simulate the microphone. It was distracting and unnecessary, and detracted from the narration.
"What a nice story"
The author pulls you in nicely to the world the characters are in and there struggles. Will seek more written by this author from now on.
Highly recommend this one...
A simple but sweet story that makes you smile at the end of the day. Wishful and hopeful.
"Liked it very much n"
the storyline is not much different than the other comming out in high school stories i have listened to, but what makes it stand out is the MC that tells the story. He makes u take notice of the story right away and u kind of know within the first few minutes that u will like the story. In the beginning he is kind of fatalistic and funny in the "of course this crappy thing too" kind of way. But he changes with the story and i liked that part - that u witness his thougth-processes getting more and more happy and feel him change. Nicely done and nicely narrated too.
"the foundness of love"
romantic, understanding and truth
Some thing I really liked about the story is that how it shows a part of what is the secret of life and how love can really prosper no matter what
maybe the narrator could have shown more expression in his voice
totally would love to read it at once unless u are a homophobe then this story is not for u
I have taken a lot of interest into the book!
"More than a YA story - Wonderful"
Truman is 17, in his last year of high school, and this is his 6th school in as many years. Due to his small stature he is the object of bullying and his poor single mother can do nothing more than move them to help the situation.
Javi is the star of the baseball team and a genuinely nice, great guy, part of a loving family.
After Tru gets beat up again (on the first day by Javi’s best friend), Javi rescues him and takes him home to his family where he is immediately embraced into the fold.
After that day Javi and Tru become best friends. Javi protects him as well as really enjoys his company, more than the other kids think he should.
When push comes to shove, Javi has to face the fact that he has feelings for Tru (admittedly gay, but not out officially). After facing the truth he has to decide what to do with the information but before he can decide things have heated up at school to the point where it may already be too late.
OMG! I loved this story. I’m not a huge YA fan, but I really love Jacob Flores and Mark Westfield so I decided to give this a try. Boy am I glad!
First, since this is their last year in HS most of what the boys are dealing with is adult enough not to feel awkward when it comes to relationship stuff.
Second, Jacob Flores is an excellent writer and he does an excellent job of creating two believable characters in situations that feel authentic. Javi is (perhaps) a bit too good to be true, but every story needs a hero and he is an absolutely wonderful one.
There are plenty of “bad guys” in this story, including most of Javi’s “friends” from the baseball team.
Tru is another wonderful character who just keeps trying and trying. He never gives up and I really liked that he didn’t perseverate on the future or have dire thoughts of suicide. He truly lived in the now and simply focused on doing the best with what he was given in that moment.
Claudia, the BFF, is another fantastic character – serving to give some attitude to the couple who are so sappily sweet.
I also loved that most of the characters in this story were non-caucasian but that race really wasn’t made much of an issue – if any.
It was a super sweet and lovely story and I highly recommend it.
Mark Westfield (who I really admired in the THIRDS books) disappointed me with this. He does a nice enough job and is easy to listen to, he gives Javi’s folks a bit of an accent, but I think that someone like Gomez Pugh would have rocked this as most of the characters in this were Hispanic and I think more accents would have made this sound more like I had it scripted in my head.
That being said, it was a nice (if not amazing) way to listen to this book and did not detract.
5 of 5 stars
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