XOXO Hayden – Chris Corkum (PD Publishing)

Buy it now from our Amazon.com store – XOXO Hayden

I had it set in my mind before I even opened the cover that I wasn’t going to like this book. All I could think about was here we go again, another coming-of-age story about some young boy trying to fit in, blah, blah, blah.  We’ve all been there and done that a dozen or more times.  Chris Corkum however, changed my mind within a few pages of his novel.  I couldn’t put the book down, and now weeks later the characters are still vivid in my mind.  

Steven Carlisle is a suburban teenager growing up in Orange County in the 80’s, struggling to understand his identity and sexuality.  Hayden Whitfield is a British pop star trying to find himself and acceptance through his music.  When Steven wins backstage passes to meet Hayden, both of their lives will change forever. 

The novel follows both of these men’s lives over a period of eighteen years, and the growing connection that the two of them have for one another, but don’t quite understand.  XOXO Hayden is a touching, well-written story of desire, love and passion.  As each chapter ends, the story of these two men become richer and more complex. The characters are so vivid and so real, you feel as if you are a part of their eighteen-year story.

One of the aspects of this book that I found so refreshing is that it’s not your ordinary, coming-of-age story.  Without giving away any secrets to the plot or ending, there are many touching, intimate moments between Steven and Hayden but as in real life, not everything goes smoothly and not everything ends the way you expect it or want it to.The process the characters go through are real, the emotions of love, fear and pain are also real.That’s what stands this book out from the others. I felt for the characters and also found pieces of me within their story.

Pick up a copy of XOXO Hayden.  It’s a great weekend read.

Reviewed by William Holden

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