Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A sweet, Greek romance that will hook you from start to finish.
Jimmy has a secret.
But when he meets Ren, he can no longer hide it.
Ren is an adventurous comic-book nerd.
He transfers to Thessaloniki, Greece in an attempt to find his place in the world.
What he gets is more than just an escape from his academic family.
Jimmy is a hard working man.
After losing his mother, he has put his heart and soul into finishing his studies and helping his dad through his financial difficulties.
When he is introduced to Ren, Jimmy initiates him into the coffee-and-chill culture of his Greek city.
But something awakens in both of them. Something neither can tame.
Can the two boys be more than just friends?
And what is that feeling called? That feeling they can’t seem to shake off?
A Taste of Agapi is a sweet, low-angst, coming-out romance with some swearing, a little bit of geekiness, a lot of Greek culture and a happy ever after.
If you read that last sentence of the blurb above basically my review is written for me. All that is true. Review done. Shortest review ever! Excerpt that A Taste Of Agapi by Chris Ethan also opens a window into Thessaloniki, Greece. We meet its people with its infinite variety, dive into Greek culture through its food, language, politics, family life, and yes, monuments. We even get to travel into parts of collegiate life with Ren when we attend classes with him. No, A Taste of Agapi is a treasure trove and love letter to Greece and the Greek people with it’s honesty about its issues (the elements of racism, homophobia, intolerance) that high unemployment and an economic slump has seen increased as well. We still want to travel there, share in the love and joy of those we will meet eating and celebrating in their neighborhood bars and seaside establishments, hoping for the same welcome that Ren was lucky enough to find with Jimmy and his friends.
Ethan’s characterizations are marvelous.
Warm, layered portraits of people that you not only want to meet but might recognize anywhere. Funny, flawed, fierce, and loving, these are young men and women at that most bright and precarious stage of their lives. Coming into adulthood, finding themselves, figuring out futures, and just being young. Chris Ethan captures it all and does it while making them genuine Greek youth navigating the peculiars of Greek society. In this case, it’s the very real fear of what coming out will do to you and those around you in a culture that sees it as something not only to be reviled but criminal, the laws only now changing. No, this is not liberal Europe or the US.
The relationship between Ren from England (and a more liberal culture) and Jimmy (definitely not out in a hostile one) still manages to be sweet, questioning, and romantic. It also feels entirely real. It’s very easy to connect with these two as they try to figure out what they feel about each other, what they are doing with each other (virgins), and all the conflicting issues they face, each other’s cultures not withstanding. Huge questions that face these young men in such a short time together.
Therein lies my one issue with this story.
It’s really only half of a book. It ends exactly where the other half of the book should start. That keeps this story from being a 5 star read for me. It almost took it down to a 4 (that and a element with 2 brothers and a uncle that petered out to nothing, not that I’m complaining).
No, it’s that we need the rest of this story. I can only hope that the author is hard at work writing it. This couple and the readers deserve to know how it all plays out. Until then, travel to Thessaloniki, Greece in A Taste Of Agapi by Chris Ethan for a sweet coming out romance you will thoroughly love.
Cover art: Tiferet Designs. Gorgeous cover with the White Tower of Thessaloniki in the background, one of the many monuments that Jimmy took Ren to. Love it.
Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published September 26th 2018 by Chris Ethan Gay Romance
Edition Language English