Rating: 5 stars out of 5
When they were kids, Chris Mitcham rescued Theo from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed feelings for his best friend that arise at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.
When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and his stunted, tenuous relationship with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?
In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with awkward firsts and a few haters, but also the unexpected comfort of a friend turned lover.
I fell hopelessly in love with this story, with Theo from the moment narrator Michael Mola ushers us into his gentle, brilliant interpretation of Laura Lascarso’s teenage character discovering his love for his long time best friend just before his birthday and beginning of school.
From the accent, to the confused musings that sound exactly like they would come from a teenager, When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso is that new adult coming out story that hits every high mark you expect in such a novel and rarely get.
The characters are beautifully nuanced, believable, and ones that grab at your heart. Theo’s home situation rings especially true where the father has a new younger family (also a layered portrait where the new wife is struggling and deserving of our compassion), a twin sister desperate for her father’s approval, and a quietly supportive mother whose Puerto Rican culture has contributed so much to who Theo is becoming as an adult. It’s understated in some ways and so much of the character’s foundation at the same time. A beautiful job by the author and the narrator as seen by the gorgeous accent given to Theo in the audiobook.
In tandem with Theo is Chris, Theo’s best friend,next door neighbor, and the boy he’s in love with. They’ve been joined at the hip for years, surfing, skateboarding, just being with one another, until now Theo has his “sexual awakening” and knows that it’s Chris that he’s not only attracted to but in love with. His straight best friend and that causes all sorts of confusion and heartache.
There is so much here in this story much of which I can’t relate without venturing into spoiler territory. And that would be unfortunate for this is a journey I recommend readers take for themselves as I’m putting this book (and this audio version) on my Best of 2018 List. The beauty of the friendship and support between Theo and Chris is one to be remembered and treasured. The strength of Theo as a young man finding his way through coming out and establishing himself as a gay youth to his family, friends, and community is also not to be missed.
Lascarso has done a tremendous job in creating not only a compelling story of teenage young love and relationship dynamics (between love lovers, siblings, and family) but also in making a realistic unfortunate use of the media part of her storyline. That is something teenagers deal with every day. It’s almost routine and here the consequences have the same devastating effects.
Reading it? Brings the issue vividly to life. Hearing it? The emotional toll becomes so cuttingly real, so heartbreaking that you immediately think of all the others dealing with the same issues in schools everywhere.
Never fear, the ending is as remarkable as the rest of this story. How I love it so.
After having listened to the marvelous voice of Michael Mola, his range of diversity when it comes to the cast of characters of this novel, I can’t imagine just reading When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso. I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook version and settle in for an outstanding evening of contemporary listening pleasure. As I said this one is high on my list for Best of for 2018. After you listen, I believe you will agree as well.
Cover Artist: AngstyG. Along with the perfect of the writing and the narration, we have the great cover which has major elements from the storyline and is just beautiful to look at.
Audible Audio, Length 07:01:00
Published August 13th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published March 6th 2018)
Original TitleWhen Everything Is Blue