Wendy reviews ‘My Summer of Love’ (Angels of Mercy, Book 1) by SA Collins. This edition published by NineStar Press June 10, 2019, 341 pages.
On the cusp of his senior year at Mercy High, Elliot Donahey, an out but terminally shy gay young man who keeps to the shadows—never wanting to be seen or noticed—suddenly finds himself in the arms of the highest profile jock on campus, local star quarterback, Marco Sforza. Their lives, and the ones of those closest to them, will never be the same.
Set against the backdrop of competitive sports, this character study work deep dives into the lives of these young men who each must “play the game” so Marco can play the game he loves. They are just trying to find some small slice of happiness to call their own amidst their hellish final year of high school.
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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One of the things that took me a while to wrap my head around about this book is that it’s a character study. I wasn’t sure what that even meant when I read the original version a few years ago. I didn’t realize that it was going to delve so deeply into Elliot’s mind and that this story would take me back to revisit feelings that I’m sure we all had when we were young and trying to figure life out. The book has some romantic moments but I want to point out that it is NOT a romance.
This is the first book in the ‘Angels of Mercy’ series and it sets the tone for the rest of the series. Done in Elliot’s POV the story reflects a young, shy gay man who is bright and witty and terribly insecure. He is the epitome (IMO) of every teenager who struggles with peer pressure and worries about what everyone else is thinking about them. He’s filled with self doubt and many of his fellow students feed that doubt with their ridicule and bullying.
I felt like I could relate to Elliot’s struggles and there were many times when I wanted to both hug and strangle the young man. It definitely made me remember some of the mistakes I made growing up. I want to take Elliot home with me and protect him because he’s that precious and I wound up becoming very invested in his character, his mind, his story.
‘My Summer of Love’ has added content that adds to the original story making it even easier to get into Elliot’s head.
I want to mention Marco too even though this story is all Elliot’s POV, Marco plays center stage in Elliot’s head 24/7. Part of Marco’s charm is that he is rich… filthy rich but that doesn’t stop him from being one of the guys. He is definitely a big time jock and loves to play football but he isn’t concerned about letting people know that he’s fallen for another boy. He really only holds back because that’s Elliot’s wish. At times his character is mature and reasonable and more patient than many adults I know but then the teenager pops through and well, things never go the way these boys think they will.
As a matter of fact, the story didn’t end the way I thought it would and when I read the original version I had to wait to find out what happens because yes, this ends in an angsty cliffhanger. Good news is that you won’t have to wait long before the next book and I would suggest waiting for the NineStar Press version before continuing because I have it on good authority that there will again be added content and a tighter cleaned up version very soon.
I highly recommend this book and hope that you will love Elliot as much as I do.
10/10 Pots of Gold or 100% recommended
Based on years of his work as an actor, Baz specializes in character study pieces. It is more important for him as an author that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the characters, and the reasons they make the decisions they do, rather than the situations they are in. It is this deep dive into their manners, their experiences and how they process the world around them that make up the body of Mr. Collins’ work.
You can find his works at sacollins.com, violetquillredux.com and as a co-host of the wrotepodcast.com series.