Thursday, January 10, 2019

Audiobook Review: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso

Title: When Everything is Blue
Author: Laura Lascarso
Narrator: Michael Mola
Release Date: August 18, 2018
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
Length: 7 hours, 1 minute

Sometimes the people we need most aren’t bonded by blood but by something deeper.

When they were kids, golden boy Chris Mitcham rescued dweeby Theo Wooten from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed romantic feelings for his best friend that “arise” at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.

When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and the stunted, tenuous relationship Theo has with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?

In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with several awkward firsts, a few haters, but also the tender comfort of an unexpected lover.

5 Stars – Book & Narration

(If I could give more stars I would)

I am not normally a big fan of YA books or early age guys coming into their own… I usually go for the older and more mature stories. But holy smokes am I glad I picked this book up in audio. It was freaking outstanding. This is literally the perfect example of when a fabulously written story meets an amazing, talented narrator who is absolutely perfect for the characters in the book. This book and narration are everything.

Michael Mola gives us a great performance. His character voicing was spot on for the entire duration of the audiobook, so I felt like I was living this story right along with the characters. I was impressed within the first few minutes and more in love with the book and characters as the story went on. This is the best book I have heard in a while; it just hit every note with me. It was just so sweet and lighthearted, you could fall in love with these characters and their lives so easily. You will feel all the emotions during this book, and I think I appreciated the storyline even more getting to listen to it, rather than via just reading the book. Michael is one of my new favorite narrators to keep an eye on for future books.

Chris and Theo - god I just loved these guys. Everything about them was great. Their personalities were really fun, they were sweet and snarky and strong, not letting their insecurities shape who they ultimately became. I was a little worried when I saw the book started out with them in high school, aged 16yo or so, but it gave us a great background story of how they grew up and how they turned out in life, and dealing with coming out and being in love. They had the best connection and bond together, starting out from being friends in middle school all the way up to their time together in high school. Friends who ended up becoming so much more to each other.

I think I connected to Theo the most, mainly because it brought me back in time a bit, growing up in the era and community of skating and surfing. These guys could really have been some of my friends back in school.

Theo is terrified of anyone finding out that he’s gay, especially his best friend, Chris. He is just so worried about what people will think, and how he will be perceived. I mean they’re in high school, and that’s hard enough to deal with without adding an extra layer if it’s not needed, so you can totally get where he’s coming from with his feelings. Theo’s twin sister comes off as kind of a spoiled brat, but she’s a teenage girl (not making excuses but…) a good portion of teenage girls are selfish, thoughtless jerks, who only think about themselves and how things will affect them, and Theo’s sister is the perfect example of that. When things go down with “D-bag Dave”, Theo’s sister really doesn’t think before she acts. I was literally fuming and crying for Theo at that point. How anyone could do something so horrible to another person is beyond me. I just couldn’t get past that, and I really hope that Dave looks back on what he did and that he learned his lesson and becomes a better version of his horrible self. That just really floored me, I had to take a break/pause in the narration to get my emotions about that event in check. It was that bad, and I did not see it coming at all; it was totally out of left field.

Chris is awesome, he is the ultimate surfer boy in comparison to Theo’s skater personality. He is super laid back and would literally and figuratively do anything for Theo. He is just so clueless at times it makes him super endearing and sweet. I loved that once they finally, at long last, had the conversation about Theo being gay after the fiasco with Dave, it all comes out. They finally get all their misunderstandings cleared up, and can finally move forward together.

Chris’s personality and strength really shine through when he stands by Theo’s side and is his rock after everything that happens. Theo’s dad is a homophobic jerk, which adds a little more character depth to the storyline, and I was OK with that. Not OK with him being a jerk per se, but with his failure in being a good parent and being a decent human being getting added to the story. I really hope that his wife and new kids run far and fast from his hate.

Overall this book was really great, I would highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you don’t normally read YA books, I would still say to give this one a try. I really think you will be pleasantly impressed with this book (especially the audio version).

*** Audiobook copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. **

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