Title: Growing Up
Author: Tricia Sol
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Published date: 13th April 2016
Genre: Romance, LGBTQ+
Available edition(s): eBook
Date read: 21st April 2016
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Growing up wasn’t really something twenty-one-year-old Kelly Alston thought about much. Being adult and independent was never his dream. With the pressures of coming out to his conservative parents and a mean ex, he’d rather not grow up at all.
He hadn’t factored in his sexy, former physics teacher from high school, though; a man who’d starred in his dreams all throughout high school and years after he left his hometown for college. Now that Kelly is back home, suddenly being an adult looks like it might just have some perks.
My first thought about this book (before I started reading it) was how beautiful the cover is. As always, I couldn’t resist pretty covers. Then, when I read the summary, I thought, ‘Oh my god, yes!’ I always did love it when there’s an age difference between the couple. Not that I didn’t like same-age couples, but sometimes I just love reading about couples with an age gap between them.
This is a very short novel, only 30, 000 words, and doesn’t have much of a plot. It is pretty straightforward actually. It’s probably a bit cliché-ish as well, but it’s the type of cliché that I like. Because what are the odds of you meeting your young, handsome high school teacher again, who starred in your wet dreams, and happened to like you too? That storyline is something that will make me squeal to myself.
I pretty much changed my mind about the book after reading it.
What I expected from this book:
→ Something cute or squeal-worthy when Kelly and Lucas hooked up/ started going out
→ Some conflict between Kelly and his family about him being gay and in a relationship with his high school teacher, or dramas involving Kelly’s ex, which would cause some distress or angst and hurt/comfort scenes.
Instead, what I get from this book:
→ No relationship development between Kelly and Lucas. After Kelly thought Lucas rejected him, things fast forwarded to eight months later, in which during that time Kelly avoided Lucas and they didn’t have any contact whatsoever. And then, after Kelly’s encounter with his ex, he called Lucas for help, and they just hooked up instantly after that. No romance. No squeal-worthy moments at all.
→ Nothing about Kelly’s family, no drama about Kelly coming out to his conservative family…nothing. In fact, it was only briefly mentioned at the end.
My thoughts on the characters:
I think that Kelly is practically a male version of a Mary Sue. At one point, he was described as meek, insecure, all that… And comes the scene at the night club, and he was all confident. And everyone showed interest in him. Okay, “everyone” would be exaggerating, but there’s only a few notable characters in this novel; Lucas, Lucas’s brother the bartender, and Kelly’s ex. So yes, that definitely screamed Mary Sue. Normally, I would immediately stop reading anything with Mary-Sues, but I thought there would be dramas with Kelly’s family or something so I kept on reading. I was disappointed.
As for Lucas, well, I didn’t really like him. Mostly because of the way he was described. I don’t know why but characters that are so physically perfect just grates on me (like Steve Rogers post-serum). Honestly, I liked Lucas’s brother the bartender more, even though he only has very little scenes in the book.
To sum it up, the book could have been better with a little bit of character development and/or relationship development between Kelly and Lucas. It would’ve been great if it doesn’t feel so rushed, or awkward at some scenes as well. But I liked the idea for this story, and I think the sex scene was pretty good too. Although i honestly cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone who likes M/M LGBTQ books, at least not to the ones I know. But I can recommend this to people who wants to read the explicit scenes, and can ignore the lack of plot or development, and the Mary Sue-ish main character.
I rate this book 2.5 / 5 stars.