Exiled to Iowa, Send Help. And Couture

3.5 stars

I had a hard time settling on a rating for this one. I love YA/Coming of Age books and was completely expecting that feel from this one too. But I didn’t. The characters voice and maturity didn’t flow with a 15 year old IMO even though the circumstances aligned with that of a high school freshman dealing with bullying, homophobia, moving to a new school in the middle of nowhere and proving to his family that he can handle things on his own. Also, I have a hard time calling this YA. One of the MCs is 15 (for most of the book) which brings the ick factor out for me any time they kissed, etc… I remember what it was like at 15 and I’m sure I did worse. But when I read, I like my MCs to be legal or very close to it. Fifteen is just too young for me to appreciate anything other than the overall coming of age story. I would have stayed away if the synopsis indicated the age or grade of the MC. But it didn’t so I was flying blind. For MY reading preferences, anything else at that age hits too close to home with the ages of my previous students…

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Colton was facing all of the previously mentioned things when his family moved to Iowa and had to start over. His new school experience was a nightmare. But, Colton rallied and eventually fought for his place at Herbert Hoover High. He brought couture and it slowly started replacing the sea of plaid and denim. He started a drama club that became popular. And he befriended the school “psycho” and loaner, Austin.

I liked Austin and Colton together. This book wasn’t packed full of romance but they found their HEA; Well, as much of a HEA you can have at 15/16 years old. This is definitely one of the youngest YA I’ve read. There wasn’t a lot of on page sex stuff but there was a lot of making out and allusions to other stuff. Colton’s mom bought him a gay sex education book and naturally both MCs were “trying out” some of the stuff outlined in it.

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Please don’t mistake my ew… I’m 1MILLION% on board for some M/M lovin’…of the legal age or close to it.

This book was more of a journey for Colton to overcome his past, stand on his own two feet and realize that being accepted doesn’t matter unless you can be accepted for who you truly are. Colton was fab-u-lous. He was funny, forgiving and left a “trail of flames” behind him wherever he went.

”One of the upsides of being gay was not being burdened with needing to try to understand the chestier sex.” *snort*

”If the world wanted to condemn me for being gay, then I was at least going to get the good parts too.”

Another thing in the plus column is the support system Colton had. His family loved him for him and he built up a great tribe of friends. On the negative column, Becca. WTF??!?! I can’t go into specifics without giving anything away but if you read this, you’ll know what I mean. Seriously. *smh* I don’t understand the purpose of the way her character arc fleshed out. Color me confused AF.

I didn’t dislike this book. I just didn’t love it and sometimes felt like a creeper for reading it. If you like YA, give it a shot.

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