Logan Vanderveer has a joke he’s been telling since college: he’s ninety-five percent straight. He did some experimenting in school, but none of the men he fooled around with inspired him to abandon “the plan”: meet a nice girl, get married, and settle down, just like his parents always said.
None of them except Ellis Floyd, who aroused desires and feelings that scared Logan. So much so that he abandoned their burgeoning relationship just as it might have become something. But four years later, Ellis is back, and Logan finds himself questioning his sexuality in a big way.
Ellis doesn’t fit into Logan’s plan. He’s happy being a starving artist, whereas Logan has sold his soul to corporate America. Ellis is ripped jeans, and Logan is tailored suits. And, most notably, Ellis is out. But seeing him again is dredging up memories—like how it feels to kiss Ellis, and that time they almost went all the way. With chemistry like theirs, Logan isn’t sure he can—or should—keep ignoring the other five percent.
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*I received a free copy of this VIA Netgalley in return for an honest review*
I heard about this book from other book bloggers at Book Con and was instantly intrigued; the premise sounded like the story could be super interesting OR super problematic.
This story is told in a single point of view (Logan’s) and our narrator is unreliable. This is pretty much always the case with a first person single POV story, but Logan is more unreliable than most. This really affects the story, which is important to remember.
There’s an elephant in the room here, so let’s just get to it: Logan’s internalized homophobia. It’s there. It’s crazy, life alteringly, painfully there. What I appreciated about it, though, is that the author was attempting to take a character from a space of completely unrecognized internalized homophobia to figuring it (and his biphobia) out.
This is a pretty short book to be doing that work, granted. The HEA at the ending was pretty jarring, because a book taking on this storyline should be longer. There’s really a lot for Logan to unpack. Also, wow did he destroy Ellis’s heart in college. The fact that Ellis forgave him isn’t that unreachable. But where their relationship ended was pretty fast for me.
I know that this book was troubling for many people. I have to throw in there that I really identified with Logan’s struggles. It took me a LONG time to understand my sexuality, and a huge part of that included WHOPPING amounts of implausible denial. Looking back I can only shake my head at myself, but also, mourn how deeply my own internalized fears and ingrained rhetoric about sexuality profoundly changed my life.
As I said, however, this is a complex story to tell. This book’s biggest downfall is the fact that the author took on this subject in a book that was much too short to really do it justice, and tied a quick happy ending on it.
Otherwise, it was well written. I read it in a day, I was engaged, the structure worked for me. I shook my head at Logan, I cheered for him, I wanted to throttle him, etc. Being drawn into a character’s story like that is a positive.
I would definitely read more from this author, but will warn readers that this book may trouble them and to proceed with caution if the internalized homophobia/biphobia might be triggering or upsetting.
Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007.
Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for Queer Books Unbound. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary queer romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her most recent novel A Tiny Piece of Something Greater was released in May of 2018. Shadows you Left, a co-written novel with Taylor Brooke will arrive spring of 2019 from Entangled Press.