Book #119: Language Lessons (2011)

langlessonsauthor: Jay Bell
language: English
length: 47 pages
read on: October 31 2016

This was my second foray into the world of free Kindle books after The Metamorphosis, but it’s not out of copyright like that other book – rather it’s a short story that the author decided to release for free. It’s on the Amazon Kindle store if anyone wants to try it.

It’s written by Jay Bell, who also wrote the Something Like Summer series. Like that series, this is also a gay romance story, although it’s not part of the same storyline or anything, like the sequels to that book had been.

The length of the book meant it jumped rather abruptly between sections of the story. It starts with the main character hooking up with a guy across the street, also without much preamble, proceeds to hooking up the other guy with an ex-boyfriend, and then suddenly switches to the main character pursuing a completely new character he’d met in a restaurant, but with an eye to love instead of sex, which is unusual for him.

My main problem was the main character, who is a conceited little shit – he’s 16 and already far more confident than any 16-year-old has any right to be. He’s obsessed with looks, and tries to dress very prim and smart because it gives him an air of masculinity or authority, or something. Several times he’s outright rude to other characters. I wouldn’t like him if I met him in real life. That said, he redeems himself a bit with the second storyline, where his insecurities are more in play. If he’d been around 23 or 24 I’d have bought the character more, but I don’t identify much with characters who are getting a lot of casual sex at 16, as that was never the case for me – I wasn’t even out of the closet at that point.

It’s a fairly simple story, free and short, and on that count I think it was fine. It just wasn’t great.

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