My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The day Jackson Kern walks into Taylor Andrews’s classroom is a momentous day in Taylor’s life. He’s had crushes before, sure, but as time goes on, this is starting to look a whole lot more serious. Still, Jackson doesn’t return Taylor’s feelings.
Taylor has his own admirers, though. Kevin Richards is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants right now is Taylor, so when Taylor rejects him, Kevin retaliates. At first Taylor’s entourage rallies around him, but then Kevin takes his deception one step further and Taylor sees his support dwindle, teaching him the valuable lesson about who he can truly consider a friend.
* A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
So what did I think?
I found Pitch a wonderful story for many and varied reasons – the characters, the handling of very serious issues, the emotions, the happy ending!
Taylor and Jackson’s journey was totally engaging and I enjoyed the emotional elements. The insight into Taylor’s feelings was a sweet study of unrequited love and the details behind Jackson’s own story came as a bit of surprise. There was something about both characters that drew me in.
The drama consists of scheming and deception to prevent Taylor and Jackson getting together, impacting both boys in an emotional way but also very serious violence caused by Kevin’s retaliation against Taylor for rejecting his advances. It was so interesting to see violence portrayed in such a way and not the typical straight boy beating on the gay boy.
My only real concern was in relation to understanding how Jackson came to his conclusions about Taylor. Why did he admire him? Was it because of of his volunteering work or how he coped with all the issues around his coming out? I felt that he had never really spoken to Taylor to get to know him properly so found his comments about how he had admired him for so long a bit puzzling.
This book definitely had it’s warm and fuzzy moments and the grand gestures and public proclamations which I totally love! But I think some of the secondary characters were actually highlights.
I loved Taylor’s mum and dad and the subtle way his dad let Taylor know that he had nothing to worry about in coming out, that he would always be loved and nothing he could ever do would change that.
Benny is an absolutely wonderful best friend to Taylor. Every kid needs a best friend like Benny! “Tay, look…you know I love you in a completely nonsexual-keep-it-in-your-pants kind of way, but you really got to let this go, man. It’s going to drive you nuts, which is going to drive me nuts in return.” He has Taylor’s best interests at heart and is supportive and encouraging. Some of the best lines in the book come from Benny’s acceptance of his friend’s sexuality. He is totally comfortable with Taylor to the point of being able to easily joke but his honesty is what I admired most – his ability to say what he felt….
“God, I swear… if you were a girl, you would be so mine,” Benny said quietly.
Taylor laughed. “You could always come over the dark side, dude.”
“The think is, sometimes, if I could, I think I’d do it just so I could be with you,” came the whispered answer.
So please, Will, may we have some more of Benny’s story next?
To find out more about Will Parkinson and his books visit his website.