Author: Sean KennedySeries: Get Out, #1
Released: April 7th 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Length: 192 pages
There is no Plan B.After being outed in an especially brutal way and briefly running away from home, Micah Johnson has sworn to get his life back on the straight and narrow. Well, not so much straight, but you know what he means.Unfortunately the path to redemption is not an easy one. With fights at school and on the football field and an all-round snarky attitude as his number one defense mechanism, will Micah survive the school year and the training camps to achieve his dream of making the national draft and becoming a professional AFL player?His mentor, Declan Tyler, believes in him, but Micah wishes he had the same confidence in himself. Only time will tell if the ongoing reformation of Micah Johnson will be successful.
The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson is a touching YA debut by Sean Kennedy, an Australian author with three adult romance novels behind him. Sean’s Tigers and Devils series is extremely successful, with many loyal fans waiting breathlessly for the next installment. A YA spin off was unexpected but most welcome, and, I can now say, very successful.
We first met Micah Johnson in Tigers on the Run, the third Tigers and Devils novel, as one of Declan’s protégés in his charity organization Get Out. Declan is uniquely qualified to help LGBT teens with possible careers in sports, which is precisely what he does. Although he wasn’t the center of the story, Micah’s problems played a very important part and we learned a lot about who he is and what his troubles might be. In Ongoing Reformation, we finally get his side of the story, which isn’t all that different from Declan’s, and we see him trying to fix his mistakes and learn to better deal with his circumstances, including the stress of possibly being drafted to the AFL.
This book brings about a new beginning for Micah. We first find him somewhat reformed and repentant, but still unable to control his temper or handle challenges that get thrown at him every day. After the ugly way Micah was outed, deep anger is perfectly understandable, although sometimes hard to swallow. Micah’s actions are often difficult to watch through adult eyes, but it’s enough to remember how angry we all were as teens, and most of us never faced homophobia or outright hostility.
Sean obviously remembers well what it’s like to be in Micah’s position because he approaches Micah’s challenges with such deep understanding. He piled a lot of problems on our poor Micah, but he gave him a strong support system as well. Micah’s parents were more or less unknown in Tigers on the Run, but here they truly shine, and their unwavering support means so much to Micah. Declan and Simon do their best, and it’s Declan’s opinion that Micah cares about the most. There are several old friends along the way, as Micah struggles to fit in with someone his own age.
Unlike Sean’s other books, this one is not a romance, although there’s a light romantic interest in it for Micah. Even when he’s writing for adults, Sean’s books tend to be more about the characters, and less about the explicit sex scenes, which is even more true here.This is a real coming of age story, honest, humorous and above all, diverse.
It isn’t strictly necessary to read Tigers on the Run before this, but it helps. If you enjoy funny, low-angst romances with wonderful underlying messages, his books are a great choice for you. I would start from the beginning (Tigers and Devils) and end up here. You’re guaranteed to discover a cast of characters you won’t be able to live without.