There is so much going on in this work: it’s a first love meets coming of age story meets religious upbringing dilemma all whilst celebrating digital fanfic-dom during a cross-country road trip.
There are flashes of pure reading joy here: the camaraderie between our MC’s Brandon, Abel and Bec; the warring Cadsim Connection versus Church of Abandon shippers [Abandon = (Ab)el + Br(andon)]; and all the secondary characters who make up the fictional Cadmus/Sim world. There is also the heart rending inner battle of a young gay man who must choose between family, religious indoctrination, and his sexual identity. There is pure awe for this new wordsmith with a unique voice who eloquently expresses what many of us have experienced in questioning organized religion and its dictates and somehow balances this with a frothy, exuberant ode to internet fandom.
My quibbles: in the first half of the book Brandon and Abel read more as young boys not young men old enough to drive unsupervised around the country in their parent’s RV. It was also at times difficult to cozy up to Abel’s character as he came off as frivolous and manipulative especially when he tried to set Brandon up with another guy. That being said, at about the 50% mark the story really started to gel for me as the characters became much more believable and their relationship clearer.
This literary work falls in the YA category. Inventive, entertaining, well written and thought provoking, It will stay with me for some time. I very much look forward to other books by this author.