Every Time I Think of You – Jim Provenzano (CreateSpace)

Buy it now from Amazon.com

Due to one thing or another, I find myself reading a great
deal of gay romances lately—largely because I have so many of them they’re
falling off my shelf. And, although I know it’s a function of the genre, I’m
finding them very…um…heteronormative. This isn’t a dealbreaker in and of
itself, but the last couple I’ve read are YA, intensely focused on the joys of
monogamous relationships and permanent bonds formed during teen years. Such is
the case with Jim Provenzano’s Every Time I Think of You.

Reid Conniff is a high school track runner who falls for
rich kid Everett Forrester—funny, smart, and apparently captivated by Reid.
Their relationship is idyllic, with Forrester’s moneyed parents the only flies
in the ointment. However, their bonds are tested when Forrester is injured in a
freak lacrosse accident which leaves him wheelchair bound, perhaps for the rest
of his life.

Provenzano’s teens—and this is a big problem for me with
some YA—speak, reason and act very much like thirty-year-olds. This speaks
volumes in terms of Reid’s obligation to Everett. Is it realistic that a 17
year old boy can have that singularity of purpose, that level of commitment, to
another 17 year old boy? Among adults, it seems much more likely than with this
age bracket. 

But this is fiction, you say. Shut up and enjoy the story.
And I did. Very much. Provenzano’s characters are rich and complex. Reid’s
parents are a bit quick to accept his relationship with Everett, but Forrester’s
folks are stand-offish and suspicious enough to provide the tension.
Provenzano’s sense of pace and plotting are dead on, so things never drag, and
his prose is straightforward and never showy. It’s a well-told tale whose aim
to inform as well as entertain certainly hits the mark.

Still, there is a small voice in my head that tells me Reid
should question his commitment and not embrace it so fully without some angst,
some internal discussion about how this relationship will shape the rest of his
life. As it is, Everett questions this end of things more than does Reid. If
I’m to buy into this, give me a reason. Give me a character trait expressed
elsewhere as evidence that Reid sees himself as a caretaker.

Despite these misgivings, Every Time I Think of You
is an interesting, heartfelt read whose HEA ending doesn’t cloy. If I want
realism, I guess I’ll have to watch “Real Housewives of Scranton.”

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

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