Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
When Sandy Nixon’s conservative Catholic parents discover he’s had sex before marriage, they are furious. But when he blurts out he’s bisexual, they go ballistic. After they threaten him with conversion therapy, Sandy does what many queer kids long to do—leaves his homophobic parents in the dust. He moves in with his Uncle Phineas and Phineas’s partner Cody in Portland, Oregon, and is finally safe to be himself. Sandy misses his siblings, though, and decides to visit his former home in Rockford for Thanksgiving. On the train, he runs into Jade Byrne.
As the only out gay kid in their Catholic high school, Jade has stared down homophobes while being fabulous in the school musicals. He’s crushed on Sandy for years. But he’s made sure never to show it, even after they had a onetime hookup, because Sandy’s the good Catholic kid, the altar boy, and the apparently straight athlete—all the things Jade isn’t. Traveling back to Rockford together sees the start of a month of adventures, a blossoming attraction, and a chance for Sandy to learn what it means to have a family that hurts and to choose a family that heals.
Sand-Man’s Family is a continuation of that wonderful series (Wild and Precious) from CJane Elliot and this time we get to see Sandy Nixon’s story, Phinny’s nephew. Sandy escaped from his family after a fight and the threat of a “gay away” camp from his drunken father and conservative mother, the flight carrying him on the train west to his drag queen uncle Phinny in the second story There You Are (Wild and Precious #2). Sandy’s back history has been the thing I’ve been waiting on and this wonderful story is a treat all around.
Again, I continue to be amazed at the fullness of the characterizations and the amount of story CJ Elliot packs into 125 pages. It feels so much larger. Sandy is such a great young person. Still growing as a individual, working his way through all his sexual feelings, his crushes and figuring out who he is. You just fall in love with him more as you watch him struggle and grow.
And of course, there’s Phinny and Cody, Sandy’s uncle and partner along as support, offering their guidance, food, and whatever Sandy needs at the moment. Jade is a great new addition to the series and the sparks flew between Sandy and him immediately. Plus again, Elliot makes Portland another quirky character that slides effortlessly into place here and all the books of the series.
Elliot’s writing is smooth, the conversations and dialog on point and at the level of age of the characters. I laughed out loud at some points in the story and sniffled at little at others, the author really understands the uncertainty and hesitation that comes with each stage of finding yourself at that age. Just lovely. Did I wish for more? Of course, with this series and story 125 pages is never enough for me. However, I look forward to whatever the next book may bring. I love this series so and I hope its something wonderful for a skateboarder in need of help.
Pick them all up and read them in order. I highly recommend them all, including Sand-Man’s Family by CJ Elliot.
Cover art by Angsty G is wonderful and perfect for the story. Loved it.
ebook, 125 pages
Published May 4th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634772253 (ISBN13: 9781634772259)
Series Wild and Precious:
Sand-Man’s Family (Wild and Precious, #3)