11 May 2011

Review: The first, but not my last! Steve Kluger - Almost Like being In Love

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stand-alone m/m romance novel
Release date: May 1, 2004
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0060595833
ASIN: B0007XWN96
read a copy from own library

Cover Summary:
A high school jock and nerd fall in love senior year, only to part after an amazing summer of discovery to attend their respective colleges. They keep in touch at first, but then slowly drift apart.

Flash forward twenty years.

Travis and Craig both have great lives, careers, and loves. But something is missing .... Travis is the first to figure it out. He's still in love with Craig, and come what may, he's going after the boy who captured his heart, even if it means forsaking his job, making a fool of himself, and entering the great unknown. Told in narrative, letters, checklists, and more, this is the must-read novel for anyone who's wondered what ever happened to that first great love.

My Review

When Chris mentioned she was giving this fantastic book away in December I decided to Google it and for sure my interest was piqued. How was a story told via news clippings, e-mails, letters, checklists and some narrative going to work? But most of all I was fascinated how this author could pull it off to drive the story home filled with emotions, strong character voices and keep it coherent. So of course this curiosity had to be satisfied and I ordered the book.

The uppers:
*Graig McKenna a.k.a the all-star quarterback and Travis Puckett, the nerd. Both have classic traits of their archetypes but their interaction is so amazing and filled with funniness in sometimes the weirdest situations. I love their oddities , especially their train of thoughts (see quote below), the vibe they have together and from that first chapter I was fully invested in wherever Craig and Travis would go.

*The unique storytelling is such a powerful tool in de hands of this author! It created its own rhythm where I had to get used to it for a chapter but then it drew me in and kept me succumbed to the tale.

*The witty humor. It made me grin each time and that it a very hard feat for an author who has me as a reader. I cry easier then that I laugh, my humor is just quirky.

*If I find fantastic main characters in a book then I’m a pleased reader but to find awesome sidekicks as well is a treat beyond measure. Gordo, Charleen, A.J., Jody and Noah had a presence and added their own vivacity to the story.

*Even though the story used lots of information sources and some narrative to relay the tale of Graig and Travis their voices were distinct. They became full-fledged personalities that touched my heart and took me on an incredible journey that was their lives!

The downer:
*There were moments where I missed the one-on-one romance development between Graig and Travis. The beginning was rife with attraction that burned between the main men but then their lives take a turn, and after that the focus was on them separate. I understood the journey, loved to witness it, but I couldn’t help but want more of these guys together. It diminished my initial enthusiastic involvement a degree in their romantic development.

Synonyms for Almost Like Being In Love:
Touching – funny – heartwarming – easy going – quirky – sexy and different.

My Overall reaction:
The author’s unique approach in storytelling really paid off in Almost Like Being In Love. With a few bumps here and there I was engaged in the characters journey of falling in love, growing apart and finding one another again! There is no boring paragraph to be found and I wrapped myself up in the warmth and humor emanating from each character. The “what if” factor was the fuel for the romance but Travis and Graig’s lives were the main ingredient and focus of this story. All I wanted was for them to find each other again. Also, the sexing has a minor part yet I didn’t miss that and was rooting for the them all the way. The author kept me on my toes for 80% in what the outcome of this story was going to be but I can guarantee an ending that befitted all the characters and it satisfied me completely. It is an outcome I wouldn’t have wanted any other way.

Almost Like being In Love is a keeper where you get to be intricately involved with two men who will conquer your heart!

4 stars

Quotes for you to sample:

There we so many page long quotes but this is one of them I just couldn’t deny you!

Graig McKenna
Room 311
Beckley School
Tarrytown, New York

I kissed him. I fucking kissed him. First our noses touched and then I kissed him. I shouldn’t have smoked the joint. I knew that was a mistake! But what else can you do when you’re playing catch by a lake and it starts to pour? If there hadn’t been one of those metal arch things with the benches underneath, it would never have happened – we’d have jogged back to school, wet and un-kissed. This was a conspiracy! Say no to drugs. They’ll only ruin you. And I’m proof: one toke and his eyes got bluer, two tokes and I’d have killed for his smile, three tokes and I couldn’t remember a time we didn’t know each other, for tokes and I would have woken up Brigadoon for him. My life was over. Okay. Slow down. There’s probably a good explanation for this.

1. It was an accident.
How? You tripped over a rock and your mouth fell on his?

2. It’s only a phase.
Yeah. Like taking naked showers with him and tickling him every chance you get and telling him he needs work on his swing when you really want to do is touch him.

3. You were stoned.
For the first fifteen minutes. What about the other three hours? At least he had the balls to kiss you back cold turkey.

4. He’s just a buddy.
Which is how come every third word out of your mouth is “Travis.” If they got rid of his name from the alphabet, you wouldn’t have a vocabulary left. Except for “ubiquitous.”

5. Maybe you’re just searching for a homoerotic substitute.
Maybe you just found one.

6. You were curios.
Curios to do it again?

What’s the use? I kissed him! It’s like the atom bomb – it can’t be undone.
My father would kill me.

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10 comments:

  1. This book is so, so brilliant! I just love it! It is funny, emotional, and addictive. I need to read some more books by this author!

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  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I definitely need to read more by Steve Kluger.

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  3. At first it took me awhile to get into, but once I did I really liked it!

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  4. @penelope - me too! From the moment I read this book I knew I needed more feom him ;) I just heart his humor, combined with emotions!

    @Chris - he has a few more which yank my chains ;) but my book harem is already muttering *wink*

    @smokinhotbooks - we have a commercial here which uses the phrase; a littlebit weird but oh so good. I think that applies to this book as well *grin*

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  5. I LOVE this book - might want to have babies with it. lol I'm so glad you liked it.

    Yeah, it was a bummer that they were apart for a portion of the book but the journey back together was great. I love Kluger's writing. If you can handle a tearjerker then read Last Days of Summer next - So. Damned. Good.

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  6. I really liked this too. The writing style was unusual but that was part of the charm - I felt like we got to know the characters very well.

    (Chris helped me find this one too, lol)

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  7. Book pusher?! Who, me?? :D

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  8. Have not read any writings by this author but your review makes me think I should pick this book up.

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  9. @Tracy - ordered, apid for and hopefully shipped in 48 hours! I love a good tearjerker!

    @Patti- I was amazed how well fleshed out the seperate lives turned out to be and I fell for each character ;)

    @Chris - yep, you *smiles* that wisdom is handed out from m/m newbie to m/m newbie :) that and the way to find your place of course!

    @Dr. J - as I twittered about this book the response was overwhelming how many treasured this book! It's quite the reading experience ;)

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  10. Love the review but so not my thing lol

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I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.