Brendan Madden is in the midst of his senior year of high school and couldn’t be happier. He has a great group of friends, his pick of colleges, and he has recently come to terms with his sexuality. One night, he meets Mark Galovic, a gorgeous, younger classmate of his. In a matter of minutes, Brendan is hooked. As the friendship between them grows, Brendan reaches his breaking point when he spontaneously confesses his feelings to him. Brendan is shocked and elated to find out that Mark feels the same way about him. The two begin to date, but because Mark is not out, it must remain a secret. As their friends and family become suspicious, openly gay Brendan becomes increasingly frustrated with their discreet relationship, while Mark becomes more and more paranoid that they’re going to be found out.
|Publisher:||Bold Strokes Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.44(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
The youngest of six kids (and the only boy!), Brian McNamara was born and raised in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. His favorite hobbies growing up were tennis and musical theater. He obtained a degree in finance in 2009 and moved to New York City shortly after to work for a management consulting firm. While pursuing his true passions of writing and acting on the side, he decided to quit his corporate job to focus all his energy on what he loved. Using his own high school experience as inspiration for his debut novel, he is thrilled to publish Bottled Up Secret with BSB.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Brian McNamara based the plot of Bottled Up Secret on his own high school experiences and I think, because of this, the confusion, adoration and sadness felt by Brendan are emotions we can believe. Bottled Up Secret is perhaps not the best gay novel I have read but it is aimed perfectly at a young adult audience. Do not read this story if you are expecting graphic sexual scenes, because Brian McNamara avoids these. I think this is an excellent decision on his part. Mark and Brendan are experiencing their first homosexual kisses and intimate moments and we share in the tenderness of this, rather than it being merely lust. The mix of personalities in the story are intriguing and I think at times Brendan's friendships overshadow his relationship with Mark. Yet it also reminds us that Bottled Up Secret is a coming of age story, as much as it is a romance. Brendan is fully recognizing his sexuality and admitting it to his friends and family. This is important because he no longer feels he has to play parts to suit each occasion and instead he can truly be himself. Mark is a difficult character because of the way he does not appear totally committed to his relationship with Brendan and at times his actions made me frustrated. He admits that he has had a long-term girlfriend and that before meeting Brendan he has never been attracted to someone of his own gender. I think this message makes the book more accessible to young adult readers who may be confused about their sexual orientation and if my sons are ever in this position I would quite happily give them Bottled Up Secret to read. One big thing that really bothered me about the story was the amount of stereotypes the author uses. I would like to think that Brian McNamara does this in a tongue in cheek fashion, but every time something of this kind was said I felt disappointed. "I figured having almost exclusively female or gay friends and being an active musical theater performer would be enough for anyone to at least suspect." Bottled Up Secret is clearly a novel with an agenda and I think Brian McNamara clearly delivers the simple message that love is strong enough to break through all barriers. Brian McNamara's book is one I would recommend adding to a TBR pile, particularly for anyone who is a fan of this genre. I received this as a complimentary gift copy, but this is an honest review.
Bottled Up Secret was okay read in every way. It's also everything what synopsis promised and it was good read after some heavy stories since it's pretty light story. There's problems and happenings that are present in young gay boys life such as coming out to friends and parents, and being in a relationship for a first time. However, Brendan's character wasn't keen to angst or negative thinking which lightened the mood of the story and honestly, I was surprised because of it. Most of young adult coming out stories are heavy, full of angst and sadness and while I do love those kind of stories, Bottled Up Secret was quite different in a good way. Brendan was mature and he had very positive way of thinking and living his life which was so fresh. I enjoyed that particular light, happy and positive theme during the story very much. However, there was some problems with the story that made the reading experience a little dull. While the characters were really likable (Brendan's mother isn't included, she was pretty horrible) and there was great variety of them, I didn't really click with them or love them. It's mostly because while everything was okay with the story, it lacked depth - in every aspect. There was maybe too many characters because it felt like there was too little insight and they all felt swallow, not as persons but overall as characters. Even the main character, Brendan, lacked some depth. He had more it than any other character mainly because it was his point of view but something was still missing. I suspect it's because Brendan's reaction to everything were too meager. I mean, his mom pretty much despised him and tried to control him because he was gay - she treated Brendan poorly, mostly because her actions were too close to emotional abuse. And while Brendan was upset about it, he didn't react much. He talked to his friends but there was too little depth and he didn't even get really angry. Why didn't he throw a fit, yell, do something? Do anything? I waited for the confrontation patiently but there was none and that's the main reason why the story lacked depth and why it wasn't perfect read. The story had potential and with more depth, more character study and what's most important, more feelings and emotions, the story would have been perfect. Now it was okay, I felt good after finishing but I wasn't satisfied. I do recommend this for anyone who wants to read a little different coming out and first relationship story because it wasn't bad. Writing was fast paced and enjoyable, characters intriguing and there was great variety of them, and the story itself was solid and good. But if you're looking for something really deep with lots of character developement, then maybe this one isn't for you. However, it's really good book for getting your spirits up with the story's positive, happy and joyous undertone.
I got an advanced copy on Net Galley. Overall, I really loved the story. It was very relatable and easy to read. The characters reminded me of some of my own high school friends. Also, the dialogue made me constantly smile and laugh. It almost works as a screenplay. If I had any critique, it would be that some plot points could have been built out a little more, but it's the author's first novel so I imagine he will improve with his next book. I'm excited to see what happens with book #2 because it definitely ended with me wondering what's going to happen next.