Book Review: Lucky Linus

Posted August 5, 2015 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 0 Comments

Book Review: Lucky LinusLucky Linus by Gene Gant
Published by Harmony Ink Press on July 23rd 2015
Genres: contemporary, glbtq, young adult
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars

Is the possibility of fulfilling your heart’s desire worth the risk of breaking it?

Fourteen-year-old Linus Lightman is understandably reluctant to trust his newest foster family, the Nelsons, after he’s bounced through the system since being being taken from his neglectful mother. He’s certain they will reject him when they find out he’s gay, and getting to know them will only lead to hurt later. Trying to cope, he builds a friendship with Kevin Mapleton, and it quickly grows into romance, despite Linus’s fears. Then a video of Linus and Kevin having sex is posted online, and Linus knows from past experience exactly what’s going to happen. This sort of scandal will cost him his new home and Kevin’s love, snatching away his fragile hopes of belonging.

Lucky Linus was a just a perfect morsel of my appetite for gay teen fiction, since Simon had kicked off my rabid fangirling. Also, the model on the front is so adorable!

I loved that the description included a gay teen in foster care. The subject matter included quite a bit of diversity and was wonderful way to include a specific, yet highly discriminated, group of older kids.

 Lucky Linus was a lot shorter than I was expecting, which is sad, because this story had a lot of give, and a subject this big and this controversial was too contained in a short novella.

Border Leaf

First of all, DIVERSITY, YEAH! A young black homosexual teen trying to fit into a white Southern Christian family – yes, even though the description “checks a lot of boxes”, there are many young teens and adults that are a little bit of different groups. Why shouldn’t we have fiction that fills the page with check after check on a list of diverse topics? It is just as realistic to have a teen face one challenge as it is for a teen to face a whole slew of obstacles. I loved the checkerboard of diversity happening in the novel

Returning back to the story, there was quite a bit happening in a short span. Linus shared his first memories, which were far from pleasant. By the time he had been placed with the featured family in the novel, Linus has grown indifferent and cold towards the prospect of becoming a “forever” kid for someone. The first chapter, and many antidotes from the MC throughout the novel, is Linus retelling his heartbreaking story of how he went from a broken home, complete with a neglectful mother and sexual abuse, and into a whole long list of foster homes and families. Honestly, this part was soul shattering. The flippant,emotionless storytelling for these small parts made a large impact, like Linus was watching all of this horror through outside eyes. That right there screamed PTSD to me.

Linus is not only trying to balance hiding a new boyfriend, another black gay boy found on a glbt site, but also trying to push down his emotions into the dark corners, out of sight, out of mind. His foster brother tries again and again to reach him, but is met with rebuffs. This was a great selling point of the novel, and it would make for a great resource for those not only battling the foster system, but also those who know someone in foster care. At times, I almost became angry with Linus for pushing back on brother’s kindness, but I stopped to absorb why he was acting in this manner. There is only so much heartache you are willing to early swallow for the chance of approval before you abandon that mission, and accept that the world is a cruel, loveless place.

The story diverts away to point out the need for safe sex for gay teens, and addresses exploitation of underage teenagers, which was a sudden, but welcome, discussion in the cadence of the book. The author even takes the time to address the various attitudes that Christians can take towards homosexuality. Linus is afraid to let his Christian parents know about his sexual preference after witnessing the opinion of gays in the eyes of the church. The mother stops to point out that even though they attend the church with such a message, they do not support it.

Kevin and Linus’ relationship is quite cute, but I wish that Kevin was given a little more substance. I almost felt that Kevin was leading Linus on, because of the very flat-line dialog and emotional reactions from Kevin. During certain parts of the novel, the book was almost too timid to follow through with the world it had created. The main character’s voice was strong and certain, but the overall development of the story was very shaky. At times, the story delved into descriptions of things, such as the gay website, and gave the topic quite a bit of attention, even though the website was pretty standard for a social website. It felt out of place and tedious to read over the long description of the web address, like the book was explaining the site to a clueless parent.

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Even with the small page count and some pitfalls in the writing, this story is still a wonderful book on tough, often sugarcoated topics of the foster care system, sexuality, and exploration. However, the novel portrays a great POV on teen sexuality and emotions. This book totes a wide range of variety, creating an important voice for an overlooked, small clique of trivialized teens.

Lyn Sig Plant

 

This eBook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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