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connerh

Conner's Books & Reviews

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Currently reading

The White Tiger
Aravind Adiga
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs
1Q84
Haruki Murakami
The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King
Richard Bachman, Stephen King
The Complete Stories
Franz Kafka
1Q84
Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami
The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso
Dante Alighieri, Robin Kirkpatrick, Eric Drooker
The Purgatorio (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Peter Bondanella, Julia Conaway Bondanella
The Interpretation of Dreams (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Sigmund Freud, A.A. Brill, Daniel T. O'Hara, Gina Masucci MacKenzie

Tale of Two Summers

Tale of Two Summers - Brian Sloan This is the second book I've read by Brain Sloan and right off the bat there are tons of similarities to the first one. The stories aren't supposed to be related to each other, but they both take place in the metropolitan DC area and feature nearly identical protagonists. It took me a long time to warm up to the story, partly because it took so long for anything to happen, but mostly because of the tiresomely overused writing style he decides to employ, which is basically an internet correspondence between the two main characters. But there is no subtle relationship building going on here, there are no barriers to the conversation, these characters have nothing they modestly emit from each other as TMI (to cite the internet speak that pervades some of the entries). The entries that these characters write seem like they would be more at home in their personal diaries, especially considering one of the character's disturbing fixation with reporting all of his hard-on's accumulated throughout the day, which is just a little weird to the point of not being a believable dialogue.
It would be easy to get the characters confused, as you are supposed to remember which character uses which font, but the author chooses to distinguish them by their sexuality. This is where most of my nitpicking's occur. There are lots of stereotypes and genre tropes to be found here. I found the main protagonist highly annoying because his entries were more or less a constant barrage of proclaiming how gay he was, the problem here being that he didn't have much of a personality outside of that, so he ended up being somewhat of an archetype. As in Sloan's previous book, the real stars here are the secondary characters. I just wish he would give as much attention to the characters that we are spending the most time with. Additionally, the whole book is one long dialogue, so there are lots of irritating phrasing and terminology used by the author to really drive the point into your brain that yes, these teenagers are very clever and witty, for example dropping constant uses of the short-form of "regarding" instead of a simple "about" or something that a teenager would actually say.
With that out of the way, there were moments in the middle when I found myself enjoying the book and actually grinning as I was reading, because while much of it is forced there is some humor and there is a cute romance that made me want to know what was going to happen next for the first time.
I think that Mr. Sloan has the potential to put out quality young adult LGBT fiction comparable to David Levithan, he just needs to pace his books better, as the pacing was really very plodding in both books I read by him. I would also like to see better developed characters with less reliance on tropes. I'd be willing to give his next effort a try if the premise looked interesting enough.