in celebration of the release day of Zane Riley’s When It’s Time, out 1/18, the third and last book in the Go Your Own Way series I wanna share my review for book # 1, Go Your Own Way with you.
ICYMI: A lot of amazing things are planned on my blog around the release date of When It’s Time. ^^
There is the release blitz post with a cool chance to win a great prize. 😉
I also have an exclusive excerpt for you. So, head over to this post and read the amazing snippet. :3
Starting from 1/18 until 1/22 there is an Instagram tour, where I participate. Check out my Instagram account on 1/21. Other parcipants are listed below. 🙂
There will be the reviews of With or Without You (book # 2) and When It’s Time (book # 3) in the next days too.
So, enough of the preamble. Happy reading. 🙂
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
Will Osborne couldn’t wait to put the roller coaster ride of his public education behind him. Having suffered bullying and harassment since grade school, he planned a senior year that would be simple and quiet before going away to college and starting fresh. But when a reform school transfer student struts into his first class, Will realizes that the thrill ride has only just begun.
Lennox McAvoy is an avalanche. He’s crude, flirtatious, and the most insufferable, beautiful person Will’s ever met. From his ankle monitor to his dull smile, Lennox appears irredeemable. But when Will’s father falls seriously ill, Will discovers that there is more to Lennox than meets the eye.
What a marvelous debut work by Zane Riley. I read this when all three books were out, but even before the blurb got my attention and the books were on my buy and tbr list for a long time. Best time for actually exploring it was the release of the last book in the series and I can say I’m glad I picked this series and this book up.
The blurb is giving a good feeling what the book is about but it leaves open how heavily this book mesmerized me. It’s a long book, with over 300 pages, for a NA book and longer than my average books (but not the longest), but it didn’t felt so. In fact I was captured.
I was captured by the characters Will and Lennox. Yes, Lennox is crude, yes, he is a foul-mouth, full of attitude and aggressive behaviour and (borderline) violent but behind this exterior behaviour he is… vulnerable and unexpected vivid, actually gentle, full of unexpected sides.
Will is at first – like everybody else – disgusted by him, by his rude way to get into Will’s pants, his snotty language and Will is one of them who first judge him because of his looks and the fact Lennox is wearing an ankle monitor. Will is making different observations through the book and he is reflective when it comes to Lennox after a while. He sees how he judged Lennox without knowing him, without – at least first – the will to understand him better, to see behind the attitude.
When Lennox, through Will’s eyes changes in the book, starts to come across as someone who did aweful things but who isn’t responsible for all what happens to him and how people treated him, there’s a shift in the book.
Will is fascinated by Lennox, right from the start, even when he can’t stand him. Will dreams of a picture-book relationship, to experience his first kiss, his first sexual encounter with a caring kind of guy. His perfect boyfriend is definitely not an ex-prisioner, monitored by the ankle monitor and kept on the short lash – literally – who’s living in a cheap, horrible motel room.
Will himself hasn’t it the easiest life in the school, is being bullied for being gay, but actually according to the blurb it sounded more violent as it was in the end to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, what some dudes do to Will, how they mock and shout homophobic slurs to him isn’t acceptable – the way how the teacher seem to recognize this but don’t really act isn’t- and it’s of course horrible but Will seems to have a small circle of friends, at small group of people who support him, even if they don’t get what Will is hoping for, what he sees – later – in Lennox – and in some parts his so called friends seem a bit superficial and selfish. Still I liked this part. It showed a different side, the school life, where you are picked up for being “different” is something more students experience as they want to, it’s something I personally can relate to a certain degree and the way how the daily schoollife was described felt honest and raw, ugly but not necessary suprising.
Within the book Will is – at the beginning – and I can’t find a better word, herassed by Lennox. Lennox, as said above, tries everything to get in Will’s pants and for very short moments I was a bit uncomfortable in the way he was not respecting Will’s “no”s. But this uncomfortable feeling was settled once Lennox was reflecting his actions more, when he was actually listen to Will. When he started to understand that Will may be a virgin and seems vulnerable, he is actually not or at least not the way Lennox expected. In fact Will knows how to counter -with actions but more with words. And hell, this was a great exploration within the book, yes, he is the “unexperienced virgin” and is being mocked, but he has a fierce side. Will has some guts, that’s for sure – and I loved every bit of it.
And this is the moment, in my opinion, something is shifting inside Lennox. I will dare to say Lennox has a certain kind of respect towards Will.
I loved how in the whole book the character development was visible, palpable through the pages. Will is changing, from the boy who wanted to have a perfect relationship with his very first boyfriend, who dreamt of something ideal but at the end he realises that this “ideal” isn’t that fulfilling, and unexpectedly he finds his happiness with Lennox, as surprising it seems.
Lennox on the other hand is displayed as a guy with a lot of layers, and I stress this especially out. He is so much more than the guy who’s violent, who is under surveillance. He has a very soft core but the world and the community he lives in forces him to become a “tough”, and in his world it means, violent acting guy. I don’t wanna excuse any of his actions – it’s something the reader hasn’t much information about at all, we only know a few snippets he shared with Will – but it’s clear he isn’t a violent, malice guy. He isn’t rotten to the core, he had a good life before everything head south.
The book stops with a HFN, it is clear there are more books to come, but I guess you can find it satisfying if you stop here, but I actually recommend to read further. I’m really curious what’s happening next because there are a lot of open questions (for me) & I die to know what the future held for Will and Lennox.
A captivating, well-written, well executed work by an author who is definitely showing that he can keep the reader’s attention from the first to the last page. I’m deeply impressed by the balance of the “ugly”, rough parts and the vulnerable sides in the book and of the character. They never felt flat, they were so multi-layered I enjoyed the journey I had with them and I can’t to go on with book # 2, With or Without You. 5 out of 5 stars for this, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
Wanna see amazing pictures by bookstagrammers?
See the other Instagram tour partcipants in the #WhenItsTime Release Tour. Check out my Instagram account on 1/21. 🙂
Author bio – Zane Riley
Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long-distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the Internet. His first two novels, Go Your Own Way and With or Without You, were published by Interlude Press.
Blogtour and release blitz hosted by/through A Novel Take PR.