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Episode Info: New movie and TV deals are discussed with both Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue coming to Amazon and a Love, Simon series to the Disney+ streaming service. Jeff talks about seeing The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. New patrons Rhonda and Regi are welcomed. Will reviews the Netflix original Special. Jeff reviews Jay Bell’s Straight Boy. Jeff & Will discuss their trip to the LA Times Festival of Books. They also share the interviews they did at the festival with Julian Winters, Kim Fielding & Venona Keyes and S.A. Stovall. Julian talks about his upcoming book How to Be Remy Cameron. Kim discusses her Stars in Peril series and Venona also tells Jeff about her co-writing with Kim. S.A. gives the origin story of her Vice City series and how she uses caricature to encourage people to read the first chapter (she also did a super cute caricature of Jeff & Will). Complete shownotes for episode 185 are at BigGayFictionPodcast.com. Here’s the text of this week’s book review: Straight Boy by Jay Bell, narrated by Kirt Graves. Reviewed by Jeff. I went into Straight Boy without knowing much about it other than it was a young adult story involving Andrew, a gay high school student, who develops a crush on Carter, a straight (or maybe not-so-straight) boy. What made me buy the audiobook was the fact I’m a huge Jay Bell fan because of Something Like Summer and also for Kirt Graves’s narration. I knew these two together would give me a great read. And they did. With Something Like Summer and its sequels, Jay proved a master of telling a story with many characters and many plot lines that involve an array of emotions. He’s upped his game with Straight Boy. Two things happen right away–Andrew, a recent transplant to Chicago, discovers a boy who lives down the street having an argument with his parents and saying things like “I was born this way.” Andrew thinks he’s found a gay friend. The next day–his first day at his new school–Andrew comes out as he introduces himself in class. This makes him a target of the school bully, Bobby. Andrew goes off on Bobby, despite the bully’s threats and ends up getting sent to the guidance office. Here he meets Carter and discovers that’s the boy he heard arguing. Both of them end up in a special program at the school where learning happens outside a traditional classroom Andrew’s year is now set. Everyone–gay, straight or otherwise–inevitably has that phase where you want a romantic relationship that you can’t have. Andrew longs for Carter but also doesn’t want to wreck their friendship, which seems to grow stronger by the minute. The thing is, Carter seems to be a little experimental too and that only makes things more confusing for them both. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would end up a disaster on the page, but Jay deftly weaves the emotions and circumstances for both guys as they figure out the place they’ve got in each other’s lives...
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