Mike's Reviews > The Summer Boy

The Summer Boy by Ray Rhamey
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May 06, 2012

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An entertaining page-turner about teenagers coming of age in Texas. Two city boys hire on as summer help on a ranch near Kerrville in the hill country. As they learn the lifestyle and chores of the ranching trade, they also face the challenges of emerging manhood, young love, sexual discovery, a dysfunctional family, and, well, a murder or two. The author adroitly portrays the adolescent awkwardness and angst of his protagonist, Jesse, and also his grit and courage. Jesse begins the summer as a naive boy, but arcs into a young man by August. His love interest, Lola, compels as a sensual teenager challenged by her own emerging sexuality, her abusive mother, and her lecherous uncle. She also grows through the summer, as her competitive spirit spurs her to become an independent young adult in spite of her over-controlling mother.

I read this book because I enjoy Mr. Rhamey's writing blog, "Flogging the Quill," in which he advocates for high tension, precise writing, and compelling action to motivate the reader to turn the page. "The Summer Boy" does exactly that. I couldn't stop turning pages until the end.
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