Kieran & Drew
Title : Kieran & Drew
Author : L.A. Gilbert
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 256 pages (e-book)
Published : March 1, 2013
Rating : ★★★
Kieran Appleby can’t wait until graduation to escape his life in the Keys. His only friend is the school janitor, his father doesn’t talk to him, and Kieran doesn’t know how to mention he’s gay. No wonder he daydreams about college anywhere but Florida.
High school baseball star Drew Anderson has only one wish in life: to be able to care for those he loves. With an absent father, an agoraphobic mother, and a closet he’s not ready to come out of, he can barely stand under the pressure. No one knows how alone he feels.
When Drew finally notices Kieran’s long-time crush, it jumpstarts a relationship that introduces them to sex, intimacy, and love. Neither has ever been this happy. But lasting happiness is evasive, and Kieran’s desperation to get out of Florida and Drew’s desire to stay and care for his family cannot be reconciled.
Kieran and Drew were both endearing, if sometimes frustrating. That’s okay, they’re teenagers after all. They are both eighteen and in the last year of High School. Kieran is a geek and gay, so high school is not a pleasant place to be. He’s continuously bullied by the other students and while he does try to keep a low profile, at the same time he refuses to deny who he is. For him, the only way to have a better future is to move away from the Keys and start life, and college, far, far away. Drew is a jock. He’s a popular and star athlete for the school baseball team. He runs with the in-crowd, but stands back from the torture of unpopular students that the others indulge in. He also thinks he may be gay. The trouble is, if anyone found out he’d lose everything he’d worked for. He’d be booted out of the team, for sure. And that’s not the only secret he’s hiding.
Both Kieran and Drew have less than stellar home lives. Drew’s mother suffers from agoraphobia and is unable to even leave the house. Drew’s father had left years before without so much as a backwards glance, starting a new family and all but ignoring the existence of his eldest son. Drew loves his mother and feels for her, but it’s a lot of pressure for a teenager to deal with, especially in the absence of his uncle – a marine on mission overseas. Kieran lives alone with his father, no sign of his mother and we never really learn what happened there, although I have my own theories. His father owns a restaurant and spends most of his time and energy there, leaving Kieran feeling abandoned, alone and unloved.
For me, the biggest problem I had with this book was the voices of the main characters. They felt like those of fifteen or sixteen year olds rather than the eighteen year olds they are meant to be. The dialogue and reactions just didn’t feel like those on the verge of being men. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that eighteen year olds can and do make some very immature decisions, but these characters didn’t come across as immature so much as juvenile in the way they spoke, their thoughts and actions. The writing itself read more like a Young Adult book aimed at early to mid teens, but there were graphic sex scenes. The sex scenes themselves were hot and well written. Unfortunately, they left me feeling more uncomfortable than hot and bothered because I kept forgetting that the characters were not minors. I was constantly reminding myself that they were, in fact, legal and not the sixteen I kept thinking they were
Overall, this is a gentle coming-of-age story with no real surprises. It was fairly predictable, but that’s fine, it was right for this story. There was some mild angst, they are teenagers after all, but in the end everything got tied up in a neat little bow. Too neat. It felt a little unbelievable that absolutely everything fell into place with no effort, despite all the obstacles that had been set up previously. They weren’t overcome, they just suddenly fell away. While I’m all for HEA’s, I prefer mine with a little more realism.
Rated 3 stars by BookSmitten