Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life – he’s gay.
But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship, but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.
As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small-town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.
(Previously Reviewed Here)
Dane is a teacher who is married to a woman and has two teenaged children. He knows he’s gay but has never acted on the fact as he and his wife got married out of college but were high school sweet-hearts.
When his wife dies suddenly, in a car wreck, he feels this release and the need to “be himself” so he tells his children he’s gay and has been hiding it all these years.
The very next day, one of his students attempts suicide for being bullied about being gay and Dane confesses to the entire school that he, too, is gay to show support to the student, Truman.
Seth is a new teacher in Dane’s department and he had developed a crush on Dane before he knew he was gay. He helps Dane help Truman and Truman’s mom during the time surrounding Truman’s suicide attempt. This allows him and Dane to get closer and explore their feelings for one another.
I have so many divided feelings about this book.
What I liked/loved:
Truman- he’s a great character and I loved the message that his story tells (Be yourself, no matter the cost!) I loved his little side romance and the ex, too.
The way it was told. I liked the alternating POVs. I felt like each man had their own growing and changing to do, and seeing the world through each of their eyes allowed them to all have a representative chunk of the story that was theirs and theirs alone. It felt really complete that way.
Truman’s mom – she was THE BOMB! I loved how she always knew that simply loving Truman was her best bet even if it might not always be enough.
Dane’s son- he was so supportive and yet a realistic teenager in that he didn’t go OTT to help out, just quietly supported his dad.
What didn’t work for me:
Dane – Is he gay or bi or demi? He says he really loved his wife, but yet never felt complete? I didn’t always understand his character. I really didn’t understand how he just blurted things out to his kids, the school, etcetera – without expecting major blow-back – and I would think being in the closet for all your life and just losing your wife – you might waffle a bit more than 6 months…
Seth and Dane – their relationship felt from out in left field. They barely knew each other, then their having sex, then they’re saying I love yous… it felt awkward in the grand scheme of things and really unfulfilling.
Truman – sometimes he acted in ways that felt older than his age – but that could be a function of his situation…
Coming out – I really felt like Dane would have had more issues coming out than he did.
Dane’s daughter – I never understood what her deal was and why Dane was virtually ignoring her eating disorder, letting her run around without permission and allowing her to treat him so badly…this bothered me a lot.
So… the book absolutely kept my attention – Rick Reed is a great writer and he knows how to draw you into a story – but there were several areas that just felt… imperfect to me. I liked it and was glad to have read it, but I had some high hopes that weren’t met.
3 of 5 stars
Michael Pauley did a really nice job with this. I liked his version of Dean and thought he created nice distinctions between all the characters pretty well. I think this was a great way to experience this story and I enjoyed listening to it.
Overall 4 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review