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When Everything Is Blue

Narrated by: Michael Mola
Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

Sometimes the people we need most aren’t bonded by blood but by something deeper. 

When they were kids, golden boy Chris Mitcham rescued dweeby Theo Wooten from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed romantic feelings for his best friend that “arise” at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take. 

When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and the stunted, tenuous relationship Theo has with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery? 

In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with several awkward firsts, a few haters, but also the tender comfort of an unexpected lover.

©2018 Laura Lascarso (P)2018 Dreamspinner Press

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Profile Image for Neta_BER
  • Neta_BER
  • 16-09-18

Loved it- wonderful coming of age story

overall:
I rather enjoyed this book both for the quality narration and the interesting Coming Of Age story. It is both poignant and funny, and written in a lyrical descriptive way I love! This book is a great YA Coming Of Age that is sexy and achingly heart waring. If you like YA with lots of sexy times this just might be the book for you! This story is full of emotion and realness, it's a beautiful tale of self-discovery and knowing one's worth.

Story:
This is a classic Friends To Lovers with Theo and Chris sharing this incredible bond that goes beyond social status and ethnicity. I say this because throughout the book that issue comes up, both as racist slurs, jokes and material value VS love and caring. The best example is Theo's parents, a white dentist and a Hispanic immigrant. Theo's father keeps measuring his value in money, and despite the fact his mother is not financially sound you can clearly tell she is much more supportive and caring than his cold, selfish, alcoholic father. These important themes are incorporated well into the story and give it more depth. Another notable element is Theo's namesake, his great uncle, who has dementia. Captain Wooten is a wonderful side character that is a mirror image for Theo, showing him what happens when you let fear and familial expectations dictate your life choices. Theo is very much struggling with his identity and how he wants to live, and his visitations to his Uncle show him a side of his family he did not know about.

I love how this book shows a true teenage struggle, the exploration of sexuality and questionable decisions fueled by hormones and confusion. Theo is sucked into a relationship with a boy he probably shouldn't, despite being in love with his best friend Chris. I know many reads shy from books where an MC has a relationship with another character, and here it is described in detail. I personally do not like these kinds of things in stories but here it was fitting, it felt very human to me, and VERY teen like. Chris, his best friend and supporter is such a mature young man, I loved how he steered Theo through the turbulence of his coming out and his relationship with his father. He is the rock that Theo leans on, and he has a very optimistic attitude. The way they get together and explore their connection was wonderful, frantic and gentle at the same time. Also, their relationship is much more HFN then HEA, and that also is fitting these characters and where they are in their life, this is just the beginning of their story.

Narration:
Michael Mola did an amazing job narrating this book, I especially liked how he used breath and added a lot of effects in his narration. He truly preformed this book, and it added a whole new dimension to it. He had a distinct voice for every character, juggling many personalities with ease. The only thing I would change is the accent he did for Theo's voice. Theo is described as coming from a home were his mother spoke Spanish to him growing up. His twin sister is said to understand but not speak it and it implies that she is trying to "pass" as white American rather than Ethnic. However I do not understand why the narrator chose a Spanish accent for Theo, especially when he did not pull it off so well. It sounded weirdly French and awkward, and in no part of the story does it say he had an accent, nor does it make sense if his twin does not. It was such a shame as everything else from his tone to his pitch was so good and I really enjoyed and admired his skill in performing this book. It's not a deal breaker for me but was a constant let down and the reason I gave this book 4 Stars and not 5.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-04-19

Pretty cute surfer romance but...

The story is cute, but the narrator does an awful fake Puerto Rican accent. It sounds more like a Minnesotan with a stuffy nose. If you want a Puerto Rican sounding narrator, then maybe actually hire a Latino person. The character was raised in America and Spanish is his second language so I doubt he'd even have an accent. His sister isn't given one. His mom's accent is even worse, it sounds like a racist Chinese caricature for some reason??? There's also a character who inexplicably talks like a cartoon gangster. Do yourself a favor and just read the book instead.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Annika
  • Annika
  • 10-09-18

Sweet coming of age story

I've been hoping for months that this book was going to be made into audio. As time passed I realised that it was probably not going to happen. But just when I'd give up on waiting, I saw that it had been released, and my day was made.

Theo has been in love with his best friend Chris for the last year. They've been best friends ever since Chris saved him from bullies in sixth grade. The only problem is; Theo's never told Chris he was gay. Not knowing how Chris would react, he decides to keep quiet so that he wouldn't lose his best, or rather only, friend.

One day there's a new boy in town, and the pair quickly names him asshole Dave. But soon Theo realises there's more to Dave than meets the eye and that they might have some secrets in common. The new relationship causes rifts between Theo and Chris and they are all torn between wants and needs.

This story is told in first person and solely from Theo's POV. I do wish that we could have gotten Chris's POV as well. To get to know him more, know what was going on with him and how he was feeling throughout. And not only get him from Theo's eyes and mind.

Dave was an ass of epic proportions. I mean I did feel for him at times, when Theo was putting him down or ignoring him, telling him that he didn't mean anything and so on. That was far from kind or okay, but then again teenagers are far from tactful and often forget to think of other's feelings part from their own. So that fits with the characters, and is part of the learning curve we all go through while growing up. I just needed to point out that Theo was far from blameless or perfect. But that does not in any way shape or form excuse Dave's behaviour - because there isn't one, what he did was way out of line - even for teenagers.

When everything is Blue is all about coming of age, coming out. That intense first love, friendships morphing into something else, something more. About betrayals and complicated family situations. I found it all to be a very credible coming of age story. I believed in the plot, I believed in the characters. They were flawed, they were real. They were relatable.

Theo and Chris were so sweet together. They had a deep connection from the get go and I loved experiencing their growing relationship with them. The excitement, curiosity, the intenseness. They were adorable, funny and sweet, but most of all they completed each other. They were always there for another, for the good and the bad.

I loved Michael Mola's accent for Theo, it added another layer to the story and highlighted the differences between the characters a bit more. Not that he really needed it, for the difference in character's sake. He had very different voices for the characters so it was easy to know who was speaking, and it was easy to follow along. You never had to wonder about it, but just sit back, relax and enjoy the listen. Michael Mola has a beautiful voice and great pacing, so while this was my first time listening to him, it sure won't be my last. I'm going to keep a lookout for more of his work in the future.

When Everything is Blue was a cute coming of age story. Of two best friends in love finally realising they weren't alone in their feelings. And then discovering love and relationships together. I found the book and the characters very credible and believable and I enjoyed listening to their story.

Recommended to anyone looking for a sweet coming of age story.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for A T
  • A T
  • 21-09-19

Well done YA romance with a great narrator

Young Adult romance is really not my genre of choice so When Everything is Blue never appeared on my radar. However, I’d recently discovered narrator, Michael Mola, and when I was looking for more of his narrated works, this book and cover snagged my attention. Based on the reviews, I decided to give it a try and am really happy I did. When Everything is Blue is a bit like a coming of age novel following high school student Theo as he acknowledges his sexuality and comes out to friends and family, while also detailing a relationship gone wrong and young love gone right.

The pacing, tone, and dialogue of When Everything is Blue fit perfectly with the genre without feeling overly juvenile or immature. I really liked the range of primary and secondary characters included in the novel and thought they provided a really well-rounded storyline. I also liked that the plot tackled hard truths in a realistic way, yet maintained a sense of optimism in the tone. Though this was my first book by the author, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more from her, even when the novels fall outside of those genres I typically prefer.

As for the narration, Mr. Mola did a fantastic job. His cadence made for an enjoyable listen and his voices made it easy to differentiate between characters. Best of all, his delivery fit with the youthful characters and made the When Everything is Blue audiobook a definite win for me.

*Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*

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Profile Image for Greb
  • Greb
  • 19-03-19

Why the Chicano accent?

I love the story, it is set in SoFla, but the accent would make more sense if it were based in Los Angeles. The main characters are HS students and quite young for the sex scenes, maybe I'm too sheltered.

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Profile Image for <Stacy> @SoCalBookReviews
  • <Stacy> @SoCalBookReviews
  • 11-12-18

When Everything is Blue

5 Stars – Book & Narration
(If I could give more stars I would)

I am not normally a big fan of YA books or early age guys coming into their own… I usually go for the older and more mature stories. But holy smokes am I glad I picked this book up in audio. It was freaking outstanding. This is literally the perfect example of when a fabulously written story meets an amazing, talented narrator who is absolutely perfect for the characters in the book. This book and narration are everything.

Michael Mola gives us a great performance. His character voicing was spot on for the entire duration of the audiobook, so I felt like I was living this story right along with the characters. I was impressed within the first few minutes and more in love with the book and characters as the story went on. This is the best book I have heard in a while; it just hit every note with me. It was just so sweet and lighthearted, you could fall in love with these characters and their lives so easily. You will feel all the emotions during this book, and I think I appreciated the storyline even more getting to listen to it, rather than via just reading the book. Michael is one of my new favorite narrators to keep an eye on for future books.

Chris and Theo - god I just loved these guys. Everything about them was great. Their personalities were really fun, they were sweet and snarky and strong, not letting their insecurities shape who they ultimately became. I was a little worried when I saw the book started out with them in high school, aged 16yo or so, but it gave us a great background story of how they grew up and how they turned out in life, and dealing with coming out and being in love. They had the best connection and bond together, starting out from being friends in middle school all the way up to their time together in high school. Friends who ended up becoming so much more to each other.

I think I connected to Theo the most, mainly because it brought me back in time a bit, growing up in the era and community of skating and surfing. These guys could really have been some of my friends back in school.

Theo is terrified of anyone finding out that he’s gay, especially his best friend, Chris. He is just so worried about what people will think, and how he will be perceived. I mean they’re in high school, and that’s hard enough to deal with without adding an extra layer if it’s not needed, so you can totally get where he’s coming from with his feelings. Theo’s twin sister comes off as kind of a spoiled brat, but she’s a teenage girl (not making excuses but…) a good portion of teenage girls are selfish, thoughtless jerks, who only think about themselves and how things will affect them, and Theo’s sister is the perfect example of that. When things go down with “D-bag Dave”, Theo’s sister really doesn’t think before she acts. I was literally fuming and crying for Theo at that point. How anyone could do something so horrible to another person is beyond me. I just couldn’t get past that, and I really hope that Dave looks back on what he did and that he learned his lesson and becomes a better version of his horrible self. That just really floored me, I had to take a break/pause in the narration to get my emotions about that event in check. It was that bad, and I did not see it coming at all; it was totally out of left field.

Chris is awesome, he is the ultimate surfer boy in comparison to Theo’s skater personality. He is super laid back and would literally and figuratively do anything for Theo. He is just so clueless at times it makes him super endearing and sweet. I loved that once they finally, at long last, had the conversation about Theo being gay after the fiasco with Dave, it all comes out. They finally get all their misunderstandings cleared up, and can finally move forward together.

Chris’s personality and strength really shine through when he stands by Theo’s side and is his rock after everything that happens. Theo’s dad is a homophobic jerk, which adds a little more character depth to the storyline, and I was OK with that. Not OK with him being a jerk per se, but with his failure in being a good parent and being a decent human being getting added to the story. I really hope that his wife and new kids run far and fast from his hate.

Overall this book was really great, I would highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you don’t normally read YA books, I would still say to give this one a try. I really think you will be pleasantly impressed with this book (especially the audio version).