Reviewed by Kimberley
AUTHOR: JAKE BIONDI
PUBLISHER: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
LENGTH: 303 pages
BLURB: One of the most diverse and lively neighborhoods in the country, Chicago’s BOYSTOWN has something for everyone, so it’s no wonder that Jesse Morgan and Cole O’Brien chose to live there upon graduating from college. Ready to begin the next phase of their lives in an exciting new city, Jesse and Cole quickly find themselves at the center of a new group of friends. Joyelle and Derek Mancini have been married for years, but Derek is harboring a secret that could tear them apart. Derek’s brother Emmett is about to discover that his boyfriend Keith Colgan has a past that will haunt them both. Long time couple Logan Pryce and Max Taylor must face a crisis that neither of them expected. Before they realize it, Jesse and Cole find themselves at the center of it all in the adult playground known as BOYSTOWN.
REVIEW: This story tells the tale of a group of friends who live in the Boystown area of Chicago. Reading the blurb, I was a bit leery about reading it but once I started, I couldn’t stop. This series is absolutely sinful, filled to the brim with old school soap opera drama. There is sex, deceit, infidelity on video and audio, a kidnapping, a murder, a decades old vendetta, revenge and other secrets and lies that are being brought to light….it is DELICIOUS. Biondi’s characters and storyline are extremely well developed written. There were a lot of characters with a lot of different things going on with them but it’s that style of writing that will prevent you from getting bored; it certainly kept me on my toes. There are several couples that comprise this group of friends. I can’t give you an accurate account of couples as they tend to overlap and change as the story progresses. Just to give you an idea of what you are working with, the core characters/couples are Derek and Joyelle, Logan and Max, Emmett and Keith. Then add to that Cole and Jesse, Jacqueline and Ben. The Ciancio twins, Justin, Tyler, Michael, David and Rachel are the secondary characters but there are zero degrees of separation with these people. Another thing that I loved about this book was the diversity. There was this wonderful array of gay, straight, bisexual, Hispanic, African American and Caucasian characters. The author also did a great job of creating these delicious dramas in the background while each individual character’s story is unfolding. Of all of characters in this story, I disliked Emmett and Max the most. Considered the ‘good guys’ of the group, I felt that they were the most deceitful, I especially wasn’t buying Emmett’s goody good image. Max and Emmett wore these ‘nice guy’ masks that came off as the story progressed. I felt that it was the relationship between these two ‘best friends’ that was behind Logan’s alcohol problem; if not, it certainly contributed to it. I felt bad for Logan and Keith; especially Keith. I felt that these groups of people were not truly his friends and he should wash his hands of them altogether. I disliked Emmett’s brother Derek as well but still not as much as I disliked Emmett. Unlike Emmett, Derek didn’t hide the fact that he was an asshole; you knew he was an asshole by page three of the book. Oddly enough, I didn’t dislike Cole he was simply this pathetic kid with his brains between his legs. He’s young, he’s going to make dumb mistakes, but Derek is full grown. Joyelle was a bit too Pollyanna and naïve for my taste but she’s not a bad person, just saddled with that asshole husband. Jesse was doing the MOST and irritated me, but not as much as his mother Jacqueline. Jacqueline is a woman of a particular age making these rookie mistakes that a girl in her twenties would make. I mean, really?! Her behavior was downright embarrassing. That entire situation surrounding her, Jesse, Max and Ben is one of the most trifling and low down story lines that I have ever—ever seen. Although most of the people in this group of ‘friends’ were messy, the Jacqueline, Jesse, Max and Ben storyline was the most scandalous. The jury is still out on the rest of the characters. You will not be able to put this book down as it sucks you in from the first word to the last and will leave you craving more. This series is titled ‘Boystown’ but I’d call it The Young and the Messy. It was a fantastic, addictive and at 303 pages, substantial read. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series.