Number 7 is a pretty big deal this year. This book marks the first time a male author has made the top 10 and the first time a m/m romance has made the list. Way to go Seth King!
Author: Seth King
Genre: Gay Romance
Release Date: 27 Nov 2016
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5
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Henry Morgan is a beer-drinking, arm-wrestling, 100% heterosexual American male who is still a little numb after a rough breakup from his longtime girlfriend. Ty Stanton is a bohemian arts student who has been openly, and uncomplicatedly, gay ever since he asked for his first wig for Christmas.
After a chance, butterfly-inducing encounter one autumn day, Henry starts to realize something strange: he might not be quite as straight as he’d always assumed. What follows is a breakneck adventure that upends both Ty and Henry’s lives for the long haul.
Sexy, fun and thought provoking, Seth King’s Straight is about all the love we can let into our lives when we dare to jump off the beaten path and veer a little off course.
Why is it a top book of 2016?
Straight is a top book of 2016 for two reasons.
First of all, Seth King is a word magician. I discovered King this year thanks in part to the R&E Frat. For anyone who doesn’t know, the frat is a group of male authors who have banded together as a network for each other and for their fans. Male authors have gotten a lot of flack this year. But you know what? It doesn’t matter what your gender is. If you have the gift to write, you have the gift. And King writes some of the most beautiful words I have ever read. Any of his books display his talent with the art of crafting words and his ability to inject emotion into those words. Reading his books really will make you feel like you were a part of something magic.
Secondly, Straight is a dialogue opener. I think King released this book at a perfect moment in our culture. There have been some other wonderful “coming out” books this year. I enjoyed them but coming from straight female authors, I’d say 90% of them lacked real, raw, gutting emotions. Straight provides what felt like the most real experience of having your identity turned upside down. Straight is really a universal story of what happens when you realize you aren’t who you’ve always thought you were. It addresses the hardships of that.
Straight stands to remind us all that when you realize your heart wants someone who society says is wrong because
you are a female who might like other women,
or you’re a guy who was always straight and now wants another man,
or if you’ve identfied as gay your entire life and never really fit in,
or if you are transgender and know deep in your self you were placed in the wrong gender identity,
or if you are someone who likes both genders and finds yourself questioning how you fit in
life is hard. The internal emotions of dealing with feeling as if you are wrong somehow due to societial and cultural norms is just as damning as the pushback from the community around you. We all know what our neighbors and maybe even ourselves say and do when faced with the LGBTQ community.
Straight provides an insightful look into a young man’s struggle with his sexuality and is a great way to open up conversations that we all should have been having for years now.
Straight is a really intense plot line. The timeline is relatively short compared to many contemporary romances. But it fits the story. We see almost in real time as Henry meets a guy who turns his world upside down. Henry always has been as straight as an arrow. But a chance meeting on a bus has him questioning that when Ty comes into his life. What follows is a love story filled with self exploration, self doubt and learning how you navigate in your social circle when you are no longer who you’ve always been.
I loved Henry and Ty. They are in many way polar opposites. Henry has always been the all American guy. Southern gentlemam, athlete, lover of pretty blondes. Ty, a pretty blnde of a different sex, comes into Henry’s life and makes him question it all. Ty is openly gay, an art student with a flair for fashion and a love of Lady Gaga. I mean who doesn’t love Gaga though? These two open their hearts to one another in a beautiful but rocky love story.
The leading duo are a great pairing. Each filling holes in the other and teaching each other. Ty teaches Henry about his community and how to love another man. Henry teaches Ty about trust and patience. I really loved both of them.
I also appreciated the side characters. We see glimpses of both Henry and Ty’s friends. I loved the fact that as with life, Henry’s has friends who support him but also friends who hate him for what he’s doing. Ty’s friends show a peek into a community that is both welcoming and warm while having to be guarded and protective of its members. I liked all the different perspectives created with the surrounding characters.
You didn’t think the story of a straight guy falling in love with a gay guy in the south would be all flowers and sunshine did you? This novel is so emotional. Henry goes through a whole range of emotions. Self doubt at the forefront. It’s scary to fall in love especially with someone who society has always told you you can’t fall in love with. It’s not an easy path for Henry but it’s a powerful and emotionally charged path. Ty has to deal with doubts over Henry’s new interest. Ty has dealt with a lot of people’s ugly sides and has to figure out how to let Henry in while protecting himself. It’s all just so real and gripping. King creates a world which is our world and let’s us see inside people who are living this life everyday. Maybe even the person sitting next to you on your next bus ride.
Links to Seth King’s Social Media