Kindred Souls by Max C. Payne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
Jay is a foster kid and dyslexic, which leaves him at odds with his foster parents’ extended families and feeling more alone than ever at the holidays. He’s not good with crowds and tends to shy away from people, which makes summer school not much better than his home life.
While avoiding his problems, he meets popular transfer student Seiji, who frequently feels alone even in the midst of an adoring crowd. The two grow close over the summer, but come the school year, Jay starts to think their friendship was really just a momentary distraction to Seiji…
I requested this book when I read about the blurb and the cultural topic. As a fan of the Japanese culture I think it is pretty interesting to read books with an asian main character and I have to say the way how Max C. Payne combined Sei’s family traditions & the customs with the topic of having another main character who is dyslexic was well done.
The book is a pretty nice slow burn romance, the relationship between Sei and Jay builds up from friendship to more. And I liked the pace pretty much. If you expect rushed events you won’t get them and the way how it was written came a bit YA-ish, but I liked this also. The topic about the dyslexia was well described, you never had the feeling that Jay was a poor soul, although he is suffering from his (learning) disability. He isn’t surrounded by many people, he shies from them, but isn’t an introvert per se. He just need to feel secure and with Sei he gets this.
The way how both guys meet and how soon they bond it pretty fast and maybe weird for some reader. It’s like an insta-bond and Jay is – and the reader along with him – surrounded by Sei’s family, the customs and learns about a new, foreign culture. The way how the learning of the language for Jay is combined with the dyslexia topic was well solved I think, it gaves the author the possibility to create a reliable foundation for the upcoming events, a solid structure for their relationship.
The topic of Jay being a forster kid and Sei dealing with his own family issues & new settings is another part of the book I liked and iI think it was believable told by the author. There is a certain air of loss around Jay, although he has a loving forster family he can’t help himself to seperate from them. But at the end, he values what he has. And that’s pretty touching.
Sei is dealing with his own problems, although there aren’t any real one, it’s more he is trying to find his home in a foreign country and although both guys are pretty different their search for a home, a family, a bond is quite similar.
I recommend this if you want a light read, love diverse character, especially an asian representation. I also have to say it never felt like a fetishisation of a character from another culture. In fact as I said the way how Sei was explaining Jay and with it the author to the reader, it was well and pleasantly done. 🙂
It is a perfect story also for a gay romance rookie, or in general someone who likes the lighter stories without much sex, although the part at the end was pretty hot but yet innocent in a way. 🙂