Erin (PT)'s Reviews > But My Boyfriend Is

But My Boyfriend Is by K.A. Mitchell
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Nov 25, 12

bookshelves: lgbt, contemporary, erotica, poc, series, romance
Recommended for: Lovers of LGBT romance
Read from September 28 to November 25, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of K. A. Mitchell, but if you read any of my reviews, you'll also see that I'm just as critical to my favorites as I am to any other author. But one of the reasons I am such a huge fan of Mitchell is because she keeps writing consistently good romances with characters I can't help but care about.

Prickly protagonists, in particular, are her stock in trade and she delivers in spades in the character of Dylan, a biracial hothead who has more in common with his brother Aaron (from Collision Course) than with his more easy-going twin, Darryl. Dylan is a mess in more ways than one at the book's open: confused and in denial about his sexuality and his future, he masks his insecurity and guilt with sarcasm and anger, especially when his twin gets hate-bashed in a case of mistaken identity.

One of the things I like best about Mitchell's writing is that, though Dylan goes through dramatic mental and emotional change, across the course of the story, she doesn't make Dylan into a different character. He changes—he matures—but he remains the same snarky guy you meet at the start of the story.

Mike, Dylan's romantic foil, has a less dramatic journey than Dylan; though closeted for his job, he's more at peace with himself and his homosexuality than Dylan…but though Mike's storyline isn't as showy as Dylan's, he has his own struggles to go through and future to come to terms with. Sometimes 'peace' is just a hole we've hidden ourselves inside, trying to insulate ourselves from change and pain.

Mitchell roots her stories in conflicts between personalities, in the internal and external struggle that happens when attraction is not—quite—enough to forge long-term and lasting love, and she does so without cheating: taking the time to build relationships brick by brick, from molten attraction, to seriously steamy sex to the real and sometimes heartbreaking struggles to make it all work. Which is why her books work for me, every time.

Mitchell doesn't tell me that the characters are in love and just expect me to believe it; she shows me, she does the work, as much as her characters do. And watching them struggle—watching Dylan and Mike struggle, in this particular instance—through ghosts and pains of the past, shame and homophobia (internalized and from the outside world) makes you root for them. You want them to succeed because you've seen how much they've been through to get to this point. And, though the HEA (Happy Ever After) is kind of a given for the genre, Mitchell always sticks her landing in giving us a palpable sense of relief and accomplishment, when her protagonists eventually find their way there.

I feel like I should also say something about the interracial aspect of the romance; with a lot of writers, I am VERY leery of seeing them take on characters of color, especially in interracial relationships. More authors do it badly than not. But I felt that Mitchell avoided both the obvious pitfalls and the less obvious ones. Never did the characters or the situations fall into the expected cliches, never did I feel like Mitchell was giving her characters anything other than full, textural and fleshy lives, internal and external. I was hopeful, of course, being a Mitchell fan, that this would be the case, but it was an incredible relief, even so, to see that hopefulness borne out. It so often isn't.
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