A Jeri Release Day Review: Guyliner by j. leigh bailey


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

guylinerBoth sweet and sad, this YA coming of age story was a delight to read.

Connor is the classic all American boy. Baseball star, straight A student, beautiful girlfriend. All of those gave him the nickname Goldenboy- which he secretly hates. Behind closed doors he is the oldest of 5, his very existence making his parents marry young and his father to give up on his dreams. So he works hard to get a scholarship and leave the small town with little opportunity.

Graham is new in school. Moving there ostensibly for the soccer team, but in reality it was to escape the town where his boyfriend didn’t stick up for him after being gay bashed by his boyfriend’s brothers. After a year of recovery, he is ready to move on.

Graham knows who he is. He is out and proud- wearing tshirts that blatantly express the fact that he is gay and wearing eyeliner to school everyday. When Connor defends Graham- again- against the school bullies, they are accused of fighting by the baseball coach and are given the punishment of cleaning out the equipment shed every Saturday until it is done. While there, they get to know each other and look forward to their Saturdays.

Connor is fighting his attraction to Graham, and Graham won’t be a dirty little secret again.

I loved how Graham stood up for himself and what he was willing to be and do. But he also did it with general empathy toward Connor- a boy scared to not only come out of the closet, but scared to admit to even himself that he is gay. Graham is willing to be just friends with Connor, because something is better than nothing.

I also really enjoyed that Golden boy Connor is from such a blue collar family. Usually the sports star comes from a well to do family with all of the support in the world. But watching him babysit his siblings, share a room with his brothers, cook dinner for his family- all while doing his best in school and baseball are so representative of real life.

Graham was so strong. I fully expect a character like that to be broken- to hide from the world, put up walls, etc. But he didn’t. He was who he was and he wasn’t apologizing for it, even when he was getting bullied.

Connor and Graham together were just so sweet. I love a great YA book that expresses the feelings of the characters so well. There was no falling back on sex to move the story along.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Love this cover.  It is, in every way, eye-catching!

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Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published October 17th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777263 (ISBN13: 9781634777261)
Edition LanguageEnglish