happily ever after
Kamikaze Boys, by Jay Bell; Published by Jay Bell Books; Available in Paperback (2012)
Though classed as a Gay Romance about young adults, it shares a lot with some of the Young Adult fiction we’ve reviewed here. The heroes face many of the same trials: social isolation, familial strife, brushes with a hostile psychiatric system and uncaring criminal justice system. And they benefit from a familiar network of disparate, misfit, allies who come from a variety of different backgrounds, but nonetheless band together to help and encourage the heroes.
This book is different from YA lit in some important ways as well: there’s a sense of reckless passion, both angry and lustful, that permeates the book. David and Connor are angry at the systems of oppression that they observe, and lash out. They are passionate about their desires – this is not a romance in which the struggle is how to win a reluctant beloved over. Rather, they quickly identify each other as kindred spirits and are committed to each other from early in the book, while the conflicts arise from outside the relationship. The result is a definite sense of fantasy: it is certainly a book with conflict and blood-boiling setbacks for the main characters, but in the end this is also a bit of wish fulfilment: two boys, heart to heart and back to back, against the world…
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