Monday, June 20, 2016

LGBT Monday: Blueberry Boys

Blueberry Boys
Author: Vanessa North
Series: standalone
Released: November 28th 2015
Publisher: Riptide
Length: 188 pages
Source: bought
Buy: Amazon

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.
Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.
Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other. 

Vanessa North’s books are always such quite wonders, studies of melancholy with superb characterization. The honesty of her prose makes her books a rare find, and her rich style consistently leaves me in awe. Her two-book Lake Lovelace series is one of my genre favorites, and Blueberry Boys easily joined that list.

On the surface, this seems like a fairly simple story about two men with deep hurts and a whole lot of love. But once Vanessa North starts exploring those hurts, all kinds of things come to light and the story proves to be anything but simple or superficial. She explores these characters deeply and efficiently, giving us a complete picture and two characters we never want to leave.
Through Jed, North addresses the troubles of one deeply religious gay man, but she does so delicately, with no moralizing whatsoever. It’s so difficult to find that balance between your true self and your beliefs even when you’re merely an ally. I admire authors who dare to tackle this subject and especially those who do so with sensitivity and respect. Jeb struggles with coming out to his family and uncovering his dishonesty from the past. He sees his dates with various women over the years as a great sin and his lies as something that doesn’t deserve forgiveness. North approaches this with deep sympathy and understanding, and if there’s a message here, it’s that coming out is a deeply personal process, and the steps along the way something that doesn’t require an apology.

Unlike Jed, Connor spent his life in the open, but it was so hard for him to be accepted and loved for who he was. His family rejected him and the people of his small town made him feel like an outcast until he finally left and never looked back. Now that he’s finally returned, things are mostly changed, but in some ways they are just the same, and Connor needs to find within himself the strength to forgive and to separate his present from his past.

Blueberry Boys packs a strong punch for such a brief novel (or a longish novella). North unfailingly delivers strong emotions, even in her shorter works. There is very little relationship angst here, but both men go through difficult journeys. Blueberry Boys is a novel I highly recommend to fans of the genre and those who are new to it.


  1. I loved this book. Seriously, it's definitely a favorite. I'm so glad to see that you liked it so much too!! I need to read more by this author.


  2. It's great to find a great author like that! I'm glad to see you had such a great time again.

  3. Those books that pack the strongest emotional punches are usually the ones that stay with me for the longest time and this one sounds absolutely amazing, Maja. I'm especially impressed she did it in such a short length too. I'm curious about this one, especially because one of them is religious. I can just imagine how confusing it must be for him.
    Wonderful review, Maja!

  4. I'm definitely going to be giving this one a try, Maja! An issue I've been having with a lot of LGBTQIAP+ YA novels is the fact that they don't address the difficulties of being LGBTQIAP+ but this book seems to be a really thoughtful insight into the struggles that an LGBTQIAP+ relationship can undergo. Thanks for putting this one on my radar, dear--will need to get my hands on a copy soon!

  5. This sounds like it has a lot of insight in it. Great review Maja, glad you found another author to love in this genre.

  6. Ok, this sounds wonderful from the writing to the characters!

  7. You always seem to find titles I've never heard of before. The religious aspect sounds different. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

  8. Great to hear that the author manages to pack so much both character development and relationship development in shortish story!

  9. This sounds fantastic, Maja! Thank you for the well written review. I would love to meet these characters as well.


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