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Library JournalVincent Fierro has spent his life trying to be the good Catholic boy his large Italian family expects him to be, but, at age 38, with three divorces behind him, he wonders if he’ll ever find a special someone. On a routine plumbing job for a gay couple, Vince realizes he wants the emotional connection the two men have but not with a guy, because he’s not gay. Well, maybe. Vince confides in his sister Rachel about his attraction to men, and she encourages him to visit a few Chicago gay bars to see how it feels. Vince feels nothing except his age until he runs into a familiar face. College student Trey Giles is more than ten years younger than Vince but is older than most of his fellow students since he takes fewer classes while working two jobs. Trey is out to his friends and quickly realizes Vince is still closeted, but he suggests a “not date” at a jazz club, and the two end up slow dancing the evening away. Vince’s insecurity about coming out to his family and Trey’s own insecurity relating to his alcoholic mother make their relationship rocky until they each face their problems head on and find the strength to reach out to each other.
Verdict Cullinan and Sexton’s second collaboration (after Second Hand) takes the traditional romantic trope of older experienced man/younger inexperienced woman and turns it on its ear. However, they capture the beauty of developing a relationship based on mutual interest without resorting to immediate gratuitous sex (although the eventual sex is steamy) in an homage to the old-fashioned romance. They don’t gloss over the problems the two men face, but tackling them realistically makes their book stronger. Highly recommended for all libraries.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA
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