Winner! Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award - General Fiction
All Peter Bankston ever wanted to do was paint.
An aspiring painter, Peter scratches out a pauper's living in San Francisco, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Instead, he finds himself getting involved with not one but two very different men.
Like Peter, getting involved with another man is the last thing on Nick Katsaris's mind. Smart, handsome, and good-humored, Nick's done more than just survive -- he's positively thriving in San Francisco. But when he meets Peter, what begins as fun and games quickly turns into a game he can't control.
Miles Bettencourt's days are filled with longing. For him, San Francisco is haunted by Stuart, his missing ex-lover. Desperate to win him back, Miles wanders the streets in the hope of running into Stuart again. Instead, he runs into Peter -- the one man who might hold the key to what Miles is looking for.
These three gay men soon form one very unlikely love triangle. Sometimes, when people break apart and then come together, they learn that discovering that where you are is the key to knowing who you are.
In 1993 I moved to San Francisco to devote myself to fiction and have been at it ever since. I'm now the author of three novels: The Love Thing (2009), You Are Here (2012), and Best Man (2019). In 2013 You Are Here won a Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Award for General Fiction. Best Man has just been announced as a finalist for a 2020 Lambda Literary Award in the Romance category.
My typical favorite book or movie has a hot ripped alpha male (preferably tatted and scarred), some form of hand-to-hand combat or assault rifle, explosions, sex, murder and mayhem. You Are Here has none of these elements but for some reason I couldn't put it down. When I ask myself why I enjoyed this particular book so much my answer is simple - the writing and the characters. There's no complex plot or tragic twist at the end of the book - it's just a straightforward story about a man named Peter who is seemingly no one special at all.
First of all - for those who read the blurb and said "ick -love triangle? No thank you." I would like to state for the record, that I didn't feel this was a love triangle at all. At no time was Peter dating both men simultaneously and it absolutely, positively, is not a menage. So breathe easy all of you romantics out there.
Likes: 1.) The character development in this book is some of the best I've read in awhile. The reason I feel that way is because at the beginning of the book, none of the characters really grabbed my attention. There was no hunky six foot five gorgeous fireman, or snarky MC with snarky fag-hag trading witticisms. Peter is a very nondescript man of indeterminate age (he's 25) that people seem to look right through as if he's not even there. It even takes Miles and Nick a few times of meeting him before they even remember where they know him from. Peter is quiet, shy, and unobtrusive - the stereotypical wallflower. He wants to be an artist, but his greatest success is drawing on the chalkboard of the coffee shop where he works. By the end of the book, Peter has blossomed and transformed but the neat part is, it happens so gradually that you didn't even realize it was happening. I didn't like Miles or Nick when I was first introduced to them. Miles, an emotional shell of a man, is struggling to come to terms with the fact that his ex-fiance has left him. Miles is broken and angry and all he wants is to find Stuart and win him back. Nick - now Nick is the stereotypical MC - gorgeous, successful, and charismatic. Oh how we hate the way he never notices our little Peter. Throughout the book, these characters interact in the smallest of ways. A glance at this party, a word here at the gym, a word at the coffee shop...I really enjoyed the way the author really took it slowly in his development of the characters and their relationships. Very well done in my opinion.
2.) The writing style: Chris Delyani writes this story from the POV of Peter, Nick, and Miles. I love being able to get in all of their heads and to see how they are changing throughout the book. Is Peter gaining some confidence? Is Nick learning how to care? Will Miles always be broken? By the end of the book, I really felt like I knew these characters and cared about what would happen to them. There was no explicit sex in this book which I felt fit in perfectly with this style. Explicit sex scenes would have felt unnecessary and slowed the progression of the story.
3.) It was so mundane that it felt real: This book didn't have any intricate plot devices. It was basically about an average guy, with a less than perfect life, that through some chance meetings (his own and through third parties) gets to know two men that would normally never give him the time of day. Peter's near-invisibility at the beginning of the book was so different than other books I've read this year, that I was immediately engaged.
Dislikes: Well, aside from some of the decisions that the characters made, I'll let you know if I come up with any.
I've already recommended this book to my friends, but I also recommended it to lovers of the M/M genre who are looking for a substantial full-length story about someone who could be one of us.
On the plane back from hiking in Bryce and Zion NP's I was all tuckered out but didn't feel like sleeping. So I pulled out my iPad to see what books were waiting to be read and found "You Are Here" and for the duration of the flight I was once again enjoying the writing of Chris Delyani. I'll have to go back and read "The Love Thing" again to decide which one I like more. The two books definitely have similarities in having a young main character who's relatively new to SFO, struggling financially, with two possibilities of boyfriend material. Yet each book is without a doubt unique and enjoyable in its own way.
I know some people on here will throw rocks at me for saying this, but it just seems it takes a gay guy to write about gay guys. Many times...many many times...I've been reading a book in the M/M genre and would put down my iPad, look up at the ceiling and say, "Sheesh! This is just absurd." If it wasn't for the picture of two guys on the cover, I'd swear I'd stumbled into Sweet Valley High. And I'd think to myself, this is how the woman writing this THINKS gay guys interact and talk with each other. But in both of Delyani's books the conversations, the situations, the feelings...they somehow are more authentic to what I've experienced. So, definitely another KABOOM for me. Hopefully the next book won't keep me waiting until 2015.
First of all, I'm glad my friend urged me to buy this book. Second, I am glad I stuck through the frustrating Google book process. For some reason I had it in my head that this was a menage and I am happy to say that it was not. As a warning to some of my friends: there is an episode of cheating.
There were times I was a bit confused as to who all the various characters were and how they related to one another. Mostly, I was amazed at Mr. Delyani's ability to weave the interactions of those characters together in such a believable way. I was champing at the bit to get two of them together and annoyed as could be with one of them. But by the end, I felt sorry for him. Even the villain learned to make his peace with himself. The book was a story with a life lesson but never, ever got preachy or holier than thou. I was impressed with how the story ended. Where many authors would tack on an epilogue, Delyani integrated it into the story. It was far more meaningful that way. Highly recommended.
4.5 stars. This book was lovely. The thing I like about Chris Delyani is that his books are just. . .more. They're not your typical romance. They're not even all that steamy, really. But it totally works. Because you're dealing with characters who are making mistakes and are going through some hard things in their lives, and nothing is easy, which is more true to life than most books you read. Here, Delyani gives a story about chance and fate and maybe a little destiny, but mostly about how we make our connections based upon where we are. We can let life pass us by. We can let love pass us by. Or we can take control and stop living in the past and make a happy life for ourselves. And I'm glad Nick got what he deserved. The End.
I loved Mr. Delyani's first book The Love Thing very much. It was a very long wait till he released this second book. And I must say, the waiting has been totally worth it! You Are Here was a cleverly written love story. The MC was very lovable. What I liked best about this book was that none of the characters were exactly what you thought they were at the beginning.
For some people who may have problems with menage. No worry, there's no menage in the book although the blurb may lend you think so.
I have mixed feelings about this book, mostly because of expectations. For some reason, I had the impression You Are Here was a light, funny contemporary romance. I have no idea why I thought that, but I kept the idea in my head I had read that somewhere. Then as I started reading it, I kept thinking was this going to be a ménage? Read some reviews and absolutely not. OK, so it’s not a ménage, its' got some angst, but it is contemporary. However, this isn’t something I could see ever, ever rereading because I found the situations so sad, ugly and depressing; even if it did depict everyday truths and life lessons in an extreme way.
I guess if I had to compare it to anything, I’d say it reminded me often of another San Francisco based book/series: Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. I’ve read that entire series and actually loved it and I kept wondering what it was about You Are Here that I wasn’t enjoying it, and like I said; I guess it boils down to me reading something about broken relationships, near rape, crazed-stalkers that try to kill you, blackmail, family issues, and a man you keep hoping will learn and who doesn’t when I had been looking forward to an entirely different type of book. I realize this is MY issue, not the book’s.
The characterizations, however, are great because it’s a lot of characters with three central point of views and initially I wasn’t drawn to any of them, but over the course of the book; I grew to care for a couple of them. Peter is a shy and quiet 25 year-old budding artist, so nondescript that even the reader fails to notice him, let alone the other characters. Over the course of the book, though, Peter becomes an adult, for lack of a better term. His growth is so gradual, so realistic that I didn’t even notice the change until it struck me and I found myself proud of him. Proud that he didn’t settle, that he spoke up, that he wanted better for himself and was willing to lose everything for that. Miles, at the beginning, is a wandering, broken man suffering from the end of his engagement. Looking and feeling angry, he keeps everyone away. He holds onto perceived wrongs. His journey wasn’t as enjoyable to me; though, I still felt a tug of happiness at the end. Nick was my favorite character and the one that shattered my heart. I can’t talk about his journey without major spoilers, but he was frustrating to me on so many damn levels. He’s the charmer, the lonely person that hides behind a long list of acquaintances, the scared person, the bored and agitated person itching to get out of his skin…he’s more than what you read or would see on the surface.
So in saying all of that, it doesn’t sound like a bad book, and it isn’t. I still found just situation after situation I didn’t enjoy. I’m glad there wasn’t any explicit sex, and it was nice reading a story with less than physically perfect MC’s, but there was more than enough ugliness within the story to take that place. Just nasty, spiteful behavior. Often times the actions of the characters were so manic I felt actually disturbed. Like I said earlier in my review, the book puts everyday mundane situations but twists them in larger than life way. It depressed me. I wanted some happiness, and I was hard-pressed to find any. Also that ending…I guess it worked out the way it needed to, the way it would realistically have worked out, but it wasn’t the one I was hoping for, so it kind of broke my heart. You Are Here is a good book, though. I just would classify more as fiction and a character study than an actual romance.
You Are Here is like a carousel developing in the Castro district in San Francisco. It all starts with Peter, wanna-be artist who is working as a waiter in a local coffe-store; painful shy, he just left home back in Chicago probably with the dream to be finally free in the gayer city in US, San Francisco; but nothing is simple, and Peter will find out there are people not so good, like Donald, the business man who brings him home one night, and Jeff, is strange roommate.
Donald’s own roommate, Myles, is a nice man trying to overcome a broken-heart; his fiancé Stuart left him without a word days before their marriage, and Myles is wandering the streets hoping to meet him. The only link Myles has with his former boyfriend his Stuart’s best friend, Ben, but Ben is also the reason for their break-up, so he is the last person Myles would like to be near too.
On the other side of Peter’s life there is his roommate Jeff, a widower who inherited his townhouse from his late partner, and who is now basically living on the little income he has left. Jeff is trying in every way to find a new partner to climb again the social staircase, and Nick is the most likely candidate. On New Year’s Eve, when Jeff thinks to plot his conquest, Nick is “distracted” by Ben (yes the same of above), and they ended having sex in Peter’s bedroom, who will be accused by Jeff of stealing his man.
Peter will end living with Ben, and in front of him will have two chances: socialite Nick, with a different man every weekend, and quiet and brooding Myles, who is probably still stuck up with his ex-boyfriend Stuart.
I liked how the Castro seemed at the same time so full of opportunities, but also so tight a community. There are a lot of characters in the novel, everyone with his own story, but they seemed to work together perfectly, like an oiled clockwork. This was not a light tale, some of the characters were vicious in their behavior, but it’s also true that they had it back to them in the end. Who was good, who didn’t give in to life and try, instead, were able to find an happily ever after (or some sort of it).
As a story teller, Chris Delyani is a Master. “You Are Here” is Chris’ second novel behind his first, “The Love Thing.” Like I said, Chris is a Master and both of these stories are truly Masterpieces of exquisite and emotional works of art.
I came out of the closet at the tender age of 16 and I am presently 53. In all those years, I’ve known many “Nicks, Miles, Bens, Jeffs and Stuarts,” but I don’t think I’ve ever known a “Peter.” Nor have I ever been like Peter.
Peter, like Greg in “The Love Thing,” are upstanding men. They’re tender, loving, trusting, and forgiving to a fault. They travel through their lives touching people in ways that make the other characters learn and grow, even when it’s as painful as taking a bitter pill. In doing, so to the point that Peter suffers in spite of his genuine pureness and transparency. If only we had people like Peter and Greg in our everyday lives, or even more so, that we could be like Peter and Greg ourselves.
Chris Delayni is a wonderful and fresh voice in the genre of Gay Literature. I am so thankful that a friend of mine lent me “The Love Thing.” I’ve since purchased that book for myself in addition to “You Are Here.” These are two of the best purchases I have ever made. Do I recommend these books? Oh hell yes… Without reservation or doubt. I challenge anyone to pick up these books, read them, and not walk away moved, changed, and maybe a little less cynical about the world we live in. Look at the other reviews and notice that it has received a unanimous 6 stars rating (and now 7). It deserves much more than that.
Chris, I am proud to call you my friend. I am honored and humbled by your contributions to the world of literature with your amazing talent. I look forward to (with great anticipation and enthusiasm) your next Masterpiece. Thank you for showing me that we all can strive to be a little more like Peter and Greg.
I take back what I said about not knowing someone like Peter. I think Chris Delyani is Peter and Greg. Wow!
I enjoyed this book. A few of the characters are just despicable. Others start out bad, and then reflect and grow. And yet still are they are likable. Ben did the most growing on me, though he had moments of melodrama that made me roll my eyes. Peter was great, I really liked him. I never bought the relationship with Nick, it seemed like it happened out of guilt or care-taking or something other than actual want or love. Nick was just a prick. He wasn't all bad but his good moments weren't enough to make me really care about him. Miles, I did love, though it was hard to get past his stalking of his ex. I know the break up was rough....but geez man. Still, I did love watching him let go, and though we saw him and Peter become friends, I wish we would've seen more of them falling in love. That's what I was looking forward to reading the most, and it all happens off page in a time jump. My biggest issue, and pretty much my only issue happens right at the beginning, . The pace is like life, you're just watching Peter, and the men in his orbit, live their lives. There's no real drama, things happen, and people deal with it and keep living. Also I loved Ike. Poor dog got shuffled around so much.
An engaging read with many twists and turns, this novel explores the road to love and its occasional potholes. Peter is the center of the story, a lonely young man escaping his challenging family by moving to San Francisco. (The mother in me wanted to feed him and give him a hug.) Peter needs rescuing a few times but by the end of the story his strength shines through. In addition to the main characters, Peter, Nick, and Miles, there is a great cast of other characters who round out the story. Nick falls for Peter but can't admit it to himself, while Miles is too committed to pining for lost love to open up to new opportunities. Peter turns out to be a force that touches both of their lives. The descriptions of San Francisco are beautiful. You really get the sense of the different neighborhoods and the city life. I read Chris Delyani's first novel and I found him to be a true story teller who delves into the good, bad and ugly of relationships with humor and heart. I highly recommend this novel.
I really enjoyed reading the story about these men and how their relationships intertwined. The author's ability to use such descriptive information about the characters and their surroundings is quite amazing.
Reviewed for Rainbow Gold Reviews. A copy was generously provided in exchange for an honest review.
I previously started reading the paperback, and somehow was distracted from it. Shamefully, it took me a little while to pick it back up, but when I finally did, I had to wonder why I didn’t read it sooner. From reading the blurb, I had hoped it would be a menage, but thought it would have a love triangle. It’s definitely not the first, but I can’t call it a triangle either, because there was no big moment of decision where Peter was made to choose between Miles or Nick to be his one and only.
This story takes place in San Francisco and has a very realistic feel to it. The places they see and the six degrees of separation between the characters prior to meeting created a vision of the small town feeling of the gay community in San Francisco, where everyone one knows everyone else or knows someone who knows that person. It felt like a small community but with thousands of different personalities.
Peter is creative, but tends to go wherever the flow takes him. He’s not a take charge person when it comes to relationships but he knows enough to stand up to anyone doing him wrong, though sometimes it takes him a little while to get there. Miles and Nick float in and out of his life at different times, but he meets Miles first when Peter tries to escape Miles’s roommate’s attentions. They go to the same gym but barely talk. Once they begin a tentative friendship, Miles’s secrets nearly end all communication. When Peter meets Nick, he is swept away by Nick’s good looks but the irregularity and secrecy of their relationship won’t make for anything long lasting.
Nick seems like a nice guy, and he is, he even stands up to Peter’s roommate when he treats Peter really bad. He will help people in order to make them happy but he draws the lines at forming emotional bonds with others. I think he enjoys his life as it is with very little complications. He’s successful and single, and able to do what he wants when he wants. I think he really likes Peter, but having to take him in to consideration tampers with other plans in his life.
Miles is very closed off. After being left by his ex-fiance, he tries to improve himself on the outside, but he grows more bitter inside. At first Peter reminds him of his ex and he wants nothing to do with him, but after a near miss accident at the gym they begin to talk a bit and Miles likes Peter’s easy going nature. When he finds out Peter moves into a new apartment with his ex’s friend, he hopes that he can use him to find out where his ex went. But as a basically nice guy, his guilt at doing that overwhelms him and endangers their friendly dealings.
There is a fourth character that isn’t mentioned in the blurb but he is important enough that I wanted to talk about him. Ben is the character that I mentioned earlier, the guy who knows everyone. He meets Nick at a mutual friend’s party, and he was good friends with Miles’s ex. He doesn’t meet Peter until Miles accuses him of screwing up Peter’s life, but once he does meet him, he likes his personality enough that he takes him in as a roommate. I think Ben enjoys being the life of the party and having lots of connections but I think deep down, he’s feeling his years creep up on him and would like to settle down. He has good intentions but I think as a social butterfly he behaves shallowly sometimes.
This story was a journey story, with each man making discoveries and changes in their lives, with Miles and Peter making the most change. There really isn’t any sex on page, but there is some romance. I’d say that the book is more gay fiction than m/m romance, and the way the men all connect to each other in different ways made for a very interesting read. The title You Are Here felt really random in the beginning, but by the end it held a lot of meaning to the story. The importance in living in the now, of knowing that things change and if now isn’t great, it can get better. And if you like the things in your life grab on tight because they might not always be there. The tide of life is always bringing something new, but each moment is a marker that you are living it. I would definitely read more from this author in the future.I really enjoyed this book so much for all the thoughts it provoked while reading it and I definitely recommend it.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
I found that this story starts out at a slow pace and (as in real-life) continues without whirlwind transformation of characters or explosive action. However, throughout Peter's journey from seeming transparency to personal confidence we are allowed to enjoy his metamorphosis through not only his eyes, but those of the two acquaintances that make up and stir the social soup of his sedate life. both Miles and Nick have their own individual problems as well and the interactions between the threesome leave the reader anticipating just exactly what will be the emotional outcome of these characters and their eventual relationships. I did not find this book sexually explicit so would imagine that many might find it an interesting read on the basis of its basic, straightforward telling of human emotion. I received this as a Goodreads gift.
I received a copy of this book as a part of the Goodreads First Reads program. This is my honest review.
The whole thing just wasn't that interesting. The characters were all flat, the plot wasn't very exciting, and the dialogue mostly consisted of idle chatter. While I was reading, I regularly wondered why the heck I was reading page after page of boring conversations I could have just as easily picked up by eavesdropping at a cafe or something like that. I'm so glad I didn't buy this.
So many people are confused by my dislike of the romance genre as a whole. I, on the other hand, am confused about why people even like stuff in the first place. I'm not angry or judgemental, just honestly puzzled.