Boyfriend by Faye McCray
Pages: 332 Paperback; 214 Kindle
Publication Date: 3/23/2015
Genre(s): New Adult, Multicultural, Romance, Literary
Intended for mature readers.
Nate Best enrolled in college to escape a painful and complicated past. Together with his roommate, he parties more than he studies and sleeps with girls like it’s a Division I sport. When Kerry Wallace, an innocent young woman from a privileged background captures his interest, he jumps at the challenge. He eagerly denies all he ever was for the chance to be someone completely different with her. Before long, he starts to believe he can be.
When Kerry’s best friend, Jayna Lavajo, sees right through his good boy façade, he is irrepressibly drawn to her. Unable to resist her wild beauty, unapologetic spirit and charm, he finds himself on the verge of destroying everything. Tangled in a web of lies, lust and deceit, Nate is finally forced to confront the past he tried so desperately to escape.
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I always like when I get to delve into the mind of a male character, especially when it’s a story about relationships. Boyfriend by Faye McCray gives you that opportunity. Nate wants to reinvent himself. He wants to put his difficult past behind him and thinks his relationship with Kerry, who comes from a very privileged background, will help him escape his past. Like so many social chameleons, he begins to believe in the version of himself he has created. But then he meets Kerry’s best friend, Jayna, and suddenly Nate cannot hide behind his carefully constructed facade. She sees through it and him better than anyone else, and it’s not long before Nate finds himself unable to resist being drawn to her free spirit.
Boyfriend is an interesting story of love and identity. Though I felt the beginning was slow going, the story soon picked up and I was able to empathise with Nate, even as he behaves badly. There were times when I wanted to scream at him (and Jayna) but that is always a good sign for me–it means the author has succeeded in getting me to feel something for her characters. Boyfriend is not an easy story–if you don’t like stories about cheating, then this probably isn’t the story for you. But if you like stories about complicated relationships and what can be the impetus to someone thinking they want one person while longing for another, then you should definitely give Boyfriend a try.
While I enjoyed reading Boyfriend, I felt like it ended a little too abruptly. It would be interesting to revisit the characters and find out if Nate’s decisions lead him to becoming the person he thinks he wants to be.
My rating: 3.5 stars
When I first heard that Nia Forrester was working on Lifted and it would be the third book in the Secret series, I was ready to jump for joy–especially when I heard that this time the focus would be on Tessa, Trey’s younger, a tad bit irresponsible sister. Tessa was one of my favorite characters from Secret and the Art of Endings and I always wanted to know more about her.
This time, we find Tessa in San Francisco, avoiding the friends she’d moved there with since she has lost interest in the bakery they’d started together. Tessa’s living in a crappy apartment, waiting bar at a gay country-western bar called the Hood Range and involved with a woman called Lisa who refuses to come out of the closet. It’s fairly obvious that Tessa is dissatisfied in love and in life. With each of her therapy sessions with Dr. Young, we get a sense of a young woman who is frustrated, resentful and (though she would never admit it) afraid. She’s considering ending her relationship with Lisa because she knows they are destined to fail and whatever attraction she had for Lisa has faded with each time Tessa is forced to pretend she is just a friend. And Tessa doesn’t really see them as being in a relationship–they are just hooking up, with no real strings attached.
Enter Lisa’s younger, a tad bit irresponsible brother, Ty. While Tessa is initially forced to pretend she and Lisa are “just friends”, she finds herself drawn to Ty. There is definite chemistry between them–which Tessa tries to deny at first. She has so thoroughly defined who she is by the fact that she has always been attracted to women that what she feels for Ty unsettles her. And his being Lisa’s brother doesn’t really help things. Soon Tessa and Ty are hanging out, hiding their friendship from Lisa, spending most nights together and growing more and more attached to one another without realizing it. Only Dr. Young and Anzu, Tess’s closest friend, seem to be able to see that what’s going on between Tessa and Ty is more than just friendship and sooner or later Tessa will have to face the music.
I really loved how Nia handled the most complicated question in Lifted: how do we define ourselves? Are we defined simply by who we usually have sex with, or by who we love? This is an issue that Tessa struggles with throughout Lifted and it rings true without ever making the reader feel like Tessa is someone who should not be taken seriously. Tessa and Ty’s relationship and how it grows makes for an interesting story. And how those around them react to it, plus the secrets both keep and how they are revealed….it’s a compelling novel. You’ll find it difficult to put down.
Kudos to Nia for taking on such a charged topic and creating such a beautiful love story. The demanding reader in me wants to read more about Ty and Tessa, but the ending was so satisfying. Sometimes we don’t need to know everything. Imagining the continuation of the adventure is equally fulfilling.