A Lila Review: The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

f709b-cover2bart2bversion2b1This is not your average love story.

Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.

Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.

Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.

The Impossible Boy is more than a romance. It’s the story of a young man adjusting back into life when dealing with anorexia. And how his sexuality, love life, and career were affected by it–before and after. It can be considered a coming of age novel set in London.

The book is divided into two parts. The first sixty-four percent is more of an introduction to Stan’s and Ben’s life and romance. I’d have been okay if the book ended there. Not that the rest isn’t worth it, but the second part felt like an addition or a longer view to a well-established relationship.

We spent a lot of time experiencing the story as Stan. And perhaps, that’s one of the reasons I find a disconnected between the two parts of the story. Almost like he blocked us from what was really happening, just like he was doing with the rest of the world. But by the end of the story, it’s easy to see that we were indeed blocked. It was part of Stan’s coping mechanism and we need to understand it like Ben had to.

The amount of detail in the story could be a bit overwhelming, but just like Stan, it was like learning more about the country, new people, and himself. One thing I appreciated was how the symptoms of Stan’s anorexia were presented as part of his personality, and not as a checklist to diagnose his medical condition.

This story is mostly sweet. It has a very young adult feel even when the main characters are older than what’s expected. There’s a slow burn that becomes love making; never fucking. They go on dates, spend time together, talk about work, and hang around with friends. The topics discussed are serious but there’s not a lot of angst. If not for Stan’s anorexia, this could be a fairytale romance.

All the secondary characters are great. The bandmates acted as normal young people trying to get into the spotlight. They’re not perfect, but they do work well together. They look out for each other and are a family. I do need to accept that my favorite character in the book was Tone, not the MCs. He’s more than Ben’s & Stan’s best friend, he’s the reason they understand each other. Plus, he’s lovely.

Overall, this is a good read. Just be sure you’re looking for something more than a simple romance story. It’s slow-paced and some of the switches between scenes can be quite abrupt, but it brings the story together in the end.

The cover by Garrett Leigh is beautiful. It fits Stan perfectly, not only physically, but emotionally.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Nook

 

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Published: January 17, 2017, Dreamspinner Press (Perchance to Dream)
ASIN: 1635332052 (ISBN13: 9781635332056)
Edition Language: English

 

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