Gay Love and Other Fairy Tales by Dylan James

Gay Love and Other Fairy Tales by Dylan James
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (275 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Jordan Ortiz decides he can no longer hide who he truly is. He’s gay. He comes out to his family, then he comes out to everyone, and it goes well. Like, way better than he thought possible. But that’s about where it ends. There aren’t enough out gay kids at school for him to build a queer social life or even consider the possibility of dating. For now, he’s happy to be the gay bestie for his BFF, Hannah.

Benjamin Cooper is the captain of the football team and has known Jordan for almost his whole life. And he has a secret. When they won an award at the science fair in grade nine, Jordan hugged him—and that’s when Ben realized he had feelings for Jordan. As he watches Jordan come out and flower into who he is, he can’t help but feel ashamed—ashamed at what a coward he is compared to Jordan.
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When a broken leg and fair-weather friends leave Ben feeling lonely on Christmas break, he spends New Year’s Eve with Jordan, just hanging out in his basement like they used to years ago. But as the countdown to midnight happens and the ball is about to drop, Ben has something else in mind. At the stroke of midnight, he kisses Jordan.

What starts with a surprise kiss leads to a year of shared secrets, hidden love, relationship troubles, and broken hearts. Through it all, one fact holds true—Jordan loves Benjamin and Benjamin loves Jordan. But is that enough to carry them through when Ben wants to stay firmly in the closet, to the very point that this might destroy what hope they have of true love?

Falling in love isn’t always a simple process.

Bullying is a complicated subject, so I was glad to see the author take such a nuanced approach to why students bully each other, how bystanders affect this process, and what might persuade at least some the bullies to stop. Some of the most interesting scenes in this book were the ones that explored how this all works, especially when the adults aren’t paying attention and the bullies think they can get away with anything they’d like.

Jordan and Benjamin had very similar voices in this story. That is, when the point of view switched between them from one chapter to the next, I would have had some trouble telling who was narrating that part of the storyline if their sections hadn’t been marked. They had such similar personalities and speaking styles that it wasn’t always easy to tell who was who. If not for this, I would have chosen a much higher rating as I enjoyed everything else about the plot.

The romance between Jordan and Benjamin was nicely written. I liked the fact that they moved slowly at the beginning of it. Not only did that make sense for their personalities, it gave the audience plenty of time to come up with our own reasons why these two characters should end up together. I know that I started rooting for that ending very early on due to how well they got along and how much they had in common!

Gay Love and Other Fairy Tales should be read by anyone who loves the romance genre.

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