Sunday, April 19, 2009
Without Sin by J Tomas
Jacob Smithson has a short temper and uses his fists, a trait that's gotten him kicked out of every public school in the area, so his parents send him to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Boarding School for Boys even though he's not Catholic. His first day at Mass, he falls for altar boy Avery Dendritch. Avery is just as smitten with Jacob. As the boys hang out together, rumors about them run rampant through the school. Avery begs Jacob to stay out of trouble so that they can be together. It's a real test of Jacob's self-control, but for his first boyfriend, he tries. As they get more involved, they aren't terribly discreet. Who is at that age? The whispers grow louder and finally come to head in a confrontation that leaves Jacob's future at the school in question.
Jacob can be an annoying character. He's mean to his roommate and doesn't try to do well in his classes even though he's supposedly smart. He's his own worst enemy, which is pretty realistic for a guy that age with a huge chip on his shoulder. But he cares deeply for Avery, and he's nice to his roommate when a family problem arises, so he does have redeeming qualities.
I only have two complaints, and one may be because I had an advance copy. All the apostrophes and quotation marks were missing from the text, which at times made it difficult to read. I'm sure that will be fixed in the final text. The other complaint is strictly a matter of personal taste. I find it hard to read novels that are written in the present tense. You probably won't notice, or it won't detract from your enjoyment of the novel. These are minor complaints though. Overall, I felt this story depicted realistic characters, with realistic problems and consequences, which was a very nice change from some YA novels and TV shows that depict high schoolers with the lives of overly-dramatic college graduates.