Sunday, January 5, 2014
Play Me, I'm Yours by Madison Parker
Author: Madison Parker
Buy from Publisher: Harmony Ink
Buy from All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Genre: YA contemporary
Length: 244 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print
Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Lu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and now he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.
Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.
I’ve had this book for a while, and it’s been through the Rainbow Awards since I collected the story. It placed tenth in LGBT Young Adult, and the story deserves that accolade. It’s a lovely read, even for someone who usually gets more smuts in her stories.
This story reminds me exactly why I’m glad high school doesn’t need do-overs—that’s one brutal environment and the reader gets totally sucked into the hostile, hormonally fueled setting. The book is intended for 14-18, and they’ll recognize exactly what Lucas is up against. He’s often the butt of the joke because he’s not one of the cookie cutter popular people. He’s gay and just working out the implications, he’s a skilled musician with eclectic tastes (how nerdy!), and he slinks around trying not to be noticed, which is a lot like a kick-me sign. His parents don’t understand, his brother’s horribly embarrassed by him, and he doesn’t have a lot of friends. Life kind of sucks.
He does make some friends, one is the obligatory Pushy Girlfriend, another is an accepting jock who has a delightfully precocious “don’t care what others think, much” attitude. The other gay classmate has a lot of contradictions and prickles, and only kids this age could mistake being gay as enough for total compatibility. Lucas learns a lot from Donovan, not all of it good.
Lucas’ eventual love interest is extremely laid back, and while he comes with some issues, he’s got it remarkably well together. He’s a lovely first boyfriend, and almost too good to be true. Poor Lucas is so traumatized by everything else that’s happened that he probably couldn’t cope with a problematic boyfriend, so it’s kind of nice but a little simplistic that Love Interest is such a restful kind of guy.
Several supporting characters need to be smacked upside the head. Two of them effect some transformations of their own, but it took so long I was gnashing my teeth, particularly as one of them should have been reigned in, by force if necessary, a long time earlier. I found Lucas’ entire family problematic for one reason or another, even the supportive one.
The ending made me smile; not everything is perfect, but it’s enough better that Lucas has hope. One incident toward the end had me going “huh? These aren’t 15/18 year olds talking”, but what they said needed saying. If it wasn’t what I’d expect this crew to say, it’s what they should be decent enough humans to say. Unfortunately, it didn’t ring entirely true, even if I wanted it to be. The situation sprang a lot on the group and they showed the desirable maturity without having any time to process, which is not how I understand teenagers.
I think I’d point readers at the younger end of the intended spectrum at this book, both for the message of hope and for some hint of potential crap to come, although it has just enough sex in it to make me rethink it to 16+ unless the book-buying parent is cool with some oral sex. It’s a nice read for adults, and will make a lot of people besides me grateful that high school is behind us. Lucas does find love, some acceptance, and grows some spine, and his story left me happy. 4 marbles