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Contemporary Romance Discussions > Bromosexual, by Daryl Banner

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message 1: by Ulysses (new)

Ulysses Dietz | 1571 comments Bromosexual
By Daryl Banner
Frozenfyre Publishing, 2017
Four stars

Daryl Banner is a charming writer. His characters leap off the page, and humor infuses his prose, even at the darkest moments. I loved both of the MCs – Ryan Caulfield and Stefan Baker, two twenty-five year-olds who were inseparable friends in high school, but who haven’t spoken for eight years. Ryan is gay and a guidance counselor at the high school he attended in suburban Houston. Stefan is a professional baseball player whose career was cut short by a devasting knee injury.

The intensity of teenage friendships makes the strange math in Ryan and Stefan’s relationship plausible. They have been on the outs for longer than they were actually friends: four years of “joined at the hip,” followed by eight years of no communication. The reason the boys’ friendship exploded is at the center of the novel’s narrative, which begins when Ryan rescues his former friend after witnessing him in an unexpected and violent bar fight.

Stefan is the aggressor in this friendship, having dragged Ryan against his will into pursuing baseball in middle school. He made Ryan a pretty good ball player. Ryan followed Stefan’s lead, not quite realizing that he did it simply because he was in love with the cocky, handsome, talented troublemaker. Adolescent confusion and burgeoning sexuality lie at the core of their early friendship.

If anything put me off at all in this book, it’s the very clearly “gay for you” trope that drives the plot. Stefan is, by his own reckoning, straight. The only wrinkle in his self-perception is his strong attachment to Ryan. Their friendship in school was not one-sided, but Stefan has never considered what that might mean. The rekindling of their friendship, and Ryan’s new, career-based self-confidence and strength, shift the dynamic, and force Stefan to look hard at what those adolescent feelings were. Banner deals with this directly, centering the conflict on Ryan’s out-and-proud(ish) approach to his life. Stefan’s denial is the trigger that fires up Ryan’s strength. As boys, Stefan was always in charge, but now it is Stefan who, for all his macho bravado, is the weaker.

I’m sort of fascinated at the younger gay authors who seem to embrace the “gay for you” trope. I guess it’s romantic, for all that it flies in the face of actual experience. I guess that, in a world fueled exclusively by romance, I just have to let go of reality.

message 2: by Jon (new)

Jon (jon_michaelsen) | 187 comments Don wrote: "I don't get the "I'm straight but gay for you" thing, but I don't get a lot of things. I'd rather have a story about gay or bisexual men that would make it a bit more relatable. But like you say, s..."

I agree, Don. I don't typically care for the trope either, but something--the blurb, preview, excerpt--grabbed my attention right off, and ultimately the witty prose, addictive story captured my heart; reminded me of the head-over-heels, giddy, obsessive infatuation we all have experienced at some point in our lives. One of my all-time favs in romantic, gay fiction.

message 3: by Pablito (new)

Pablito (pablito2772) | 10 comments I agree, Jon. The writing sells it. One of my favs as well!

message 4: by Jon (new)

Jon (jon_michaelsen) | 187 comments Have y’all read his other YA novel as good as this one; Football Sundae?

message 5: by Pablito (new)

Pablito (pablito2772) | 10 comments No, but will check it out on your recommendation!

message 6: by Pablito (new)

Pablito (pablito2772) | 10 comments Jon, I'm not sure that this is your type of thriller, but the work of M C Lee, particularly the undercover series that begins with You Don't Know Jack with two gay MCs I found compelling.

message 7: by Jon (new)

Jon (jon_michaelsen) | 187 comments Yeah, you will enjoy! I don’t typically read YA, but Bromosexual was the monthly selection for G/G reading group, so I gave it a shot not expecting much. The reading enjoyed the title do much, most posted messages asking for a book similar the following months; sort of became a benchmark for other gay love-stories gay members wanted to read.

I really enjoyed Banner’s witty writing style; his prose is realistic and fun, even for my age (!). Reminded me of my younger years.

I’ve already purchased one of his latest, Born Again Sinner that I plan to curl up and read over the holidays.

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