Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review: "BOYSTOWN: Season Two" (Jake Biondi)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read a novel version of one of your favorite television dramas?

Think about it. Pick some show you can't resist watching week after week, whether it's drama, mystery, comedy, or something else entirely.

Now, imagine picking up that same TV show ... but in the form of a novel.

If bookstores had such a section, Jake Biondi's BOYSTOWN: Season Two would be there, available for purchase and public consumption.

Follow more than a dozen different characters, each of whose lives intertwine with all the rest in a dizzying amalgamation of relationships, love, lust, hatred, betrayal, and restoration.

In the aftermath of a terrible shooting (check out BOYSTOWN: Season One) and with deception and betrayal both afoot in the Chicago setting, Season Two tracks the choices and movements --- some wise, and some not quite as wise --- of various characters and couples who know one another (and have known one another, intimately and painfully) in ways that might destroy more than one tenuous thread of trust just beginning to form anew.

Logan and Jesse are gay lovers. Jesse's mother Jacqueline is in a serious relationship with Ben, who has a mysterious past history with Jesse and unclear plans for Jacqueline. Brothers Justin, Emmett, and Derek are embroiled in what nearly amounts to a turf war and a long-term silent treatment, depending on the day. Involved in the shooting from Season One are Cole, Emmett, and Nick, who has been reported dead.

From one episode (rather than chapter) to the next, it's critically important to remember where you last left characters, in what situations and under what circumstances, because the pace of the book moves just as quickly as it might if it were a TV show onscreen. Quick clips of one character shift to another set of characters, and then another, zipping along at a rate fast enough to lose the reader who isn't paying attention and/or invested in the story.

For those readers not used to the omniscient viewpoint (in which the author chooses to be in every character's head, revealing each character's thoughts and feelings without discrimination) the read comes across as cluttered in some places, and overwhelming in others, simply because it's difficult to know for whom to cheer and with whom to sympathize, given the cast of thousands of players.

True to Hollywood form, there's a great deal of sexual content, most of it M/M and pretty graphic, so if that's not your cup of tea, don't pick up the work; you won't enjoy it.

On the other hand, the dialogue tends to be snappy and relatively realistic, as though these really were real people (as real as those in a documentary-style TV drama can get) having real-life conversations.

It might behoove you to bring a pencil and paper to your reading of the work, in case you want to try to chart out which characters once dated, or betrayed one another, or broke up, or are still in love, or are getting back together again, or are sleeping together, if you like things organized. Then again, it's entirely possible to read through the work, start to finish, and absorb a more surface-level understanding of each of the characters and their motives and desires, kind of letting the rest wash over you.

A fascinating read for those who would enjoy a drama/mystery with M/M erotic elements.

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Author: Jake Biondi
Title: BOYSTOWN: Season Two
ISBN: 978-1500386931
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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