Rating: 5 stars out of 5
I really enjoyed this audiobook. No wait—let me rephrase that—I immensely enjoyed this outstanding audiobook performed by the incomparable Iggy Toma. He brings characters to life, making them real people I’d enjoy meeting—even those like Xander, who is antisocial.
Xander Fairchild is an Introvert with a capital I. He really dislikes people and his only friend is sharp-tongued Zelda, a person who might, or might not, be friendly to him on any given day. Zelda is one of several people who work with Xander at Benton College to create a manga serial. Zelda’s forte is not art, however; that right belongs solely to Xander, who is highly talented and creative, though repressed socially and very self-deprecating.
Skylar Stone was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and his every move has been planned by his very overbearing lawyer father. Skylar must score high on the LSAT test, and he must get into Yale and then, upon graduation, he must join his father’s law firm. Period the end. Per his father. But Skylar takes one look at Xander’s art and falls head-over-heels in love with it. And eventually, through a series of enlightenments about his own inner turmoil and life choices and new information about his feelings toward men and women and his own sexuality, he also falls in love with Xander.
The journey Xander and Skylar take to love and acceptance is not typical. The author gives us a totally different and unique perspective on love and sexuality. Xander learns that he can express his love for Skylar through painting and his sexual connection can be expressed through touch and through use of his paint brushes. Skylar learns what really makes Xander who he is and comes to love and accept him fully without attempting to change either his appearance or his personality.
This is a very yaoi manga-slanted story and I loved the information passed to the reader through the characters in the delightful voices created by Iggy Toma. I am an older woman who reads MM romance and LGBTQ lit for pleasure. When I read, and certainly when I listen to an audiobook, I am looking for a real story to go along with whatever sex scenes an author may use to advance a plot. In other words, I’ve moved beyond choosing books because the sex scenes may be hot. In this case, I’m pleased to say that I not only didn’t have to listen to gratuitous sex on page, but I was also gifted by a completely unique perspective on sexual pleasure and the simple enjoyment of connecting with one’s life partner.
I can’t go heavy into details on the plot since I don’t have the book to refer back to for notes on character names, especially the Japanese character names affectionately given to Xander and Skylar and their friends. That’s one of the few disadvantages of listening to an audiobook over actually reading an e-book version. I will say, however, that the story was well-sprinkled with references to cherry blossoms and whether intended to be symbolic or not, I felt that watching Xander and Skylar come to a maturity and self-acceptance—each at his own pace and in his own way—was like watching a cherry blossom bloom.
I highly recommend this audiobook!
The very attractive cover depicts two young men drawn in manga-style but wearing clothing typical of each character in this book and, appropriately, cherry blossoms are sprinkled all over the page.
Audible Audio, 14 pages
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
Published August 21st 2017 by Heidi Cullinan (first published August 8th 2017)
Original Title Antisocial
Edition Language English