Monday, June 5, 2017

It Could Happen by Mia Kerick

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The angst! I guess if teenage romances are notoriously emotional and angst fuelled, a high school triad relationship was going to be even more fraught. And while I came to like all three boys, there was so much drama and so little communication between them that there were times I wanted to shake some sense into each of them.

It took me a long time to get into this story. It is told from all three perspectives, which meant it took a while for me to feel familiar with each of the boys. It also took me time to realise that the narration was moving between characters. The three voices are more distinct at the start – by the midway point I found myself flipping back to chapter starts to remember which boy was narrating the section I was reading.

I liked all of these boys, but their abrupt decisions to get together, break up, get together… The behaviour of all three boys was irrational at times and for boys who had been lifelong friends, they just didn’t talk to each other. About anything. There are some incredibly sweet moments between these three, but I was left with questions. Brody seems to agree to a gay threesome either to save his friend, or to avoid losing his best friends. I’m not sure I was ever convinced that he was genuinely attracted to Henry and Daniel.

Despite the threesome idea and the suggestive cover, this is a fairly low heat story. Brody, Daniel, and Henry are teenagers in high school and most of their sexual activity fades to black.

The supporting characters felt one dimensional. The homophobic jocks are the school bullies. The Christian parents will disown their child if he doesn’t agree to conversion therapy. The nice parents are okay with everything.

I really liked the idea of this story, but there were times when I found the teenage angst overwhelming and the pacing very slow.

Mia Kerick is a new-to-me author. This isn't listed as a young adult novel, but it features 17 and 18-year-old seniors in high school, in a high school setting, and minimal, mostly fade-to-black sexual content. It would be suitable for 16+ if the parent is okay with a triad relationship.

I have to be honest with my thoughts on It Could Happen. I struggled. I found the story itself to be a beautiful one with a beautiful message, but the delivery is what I struggled to come to terms with. The way in which it was written was jarring, pulling me from the story every few pages, to where I'd have to find my reading pace again, only to have it happen again. Eventually, way after the halfway mark, it became smoother, but was still jarring nonetheless.

It Could Happen is told in three points-of-view, two of which start as journal entries, and the third as random poems strewn throughout the novel. Why was this a struggle for me? While the poems were beautiful, and I enjoyed them and appreciated them, it left me with a disconnect with Danny. I didn't get to delve into his head as deeply as Henry and Brody. I also felt, in the beginning third, Henry and Brody's 'voices' were too similar, I had to use dialogue to keep who was narrating the section straight, or I'd have to back click to see whose name was a top the journal entry.

So my issue was two-fold, with the first the way in which the story was told.

Henry is an athlete with strict parents who are uber religious. His life is structured to the point he isn't allowed to make his own choices, even though he is an eighteen-year-old. Brody is a free-spirit, a menopause baby, with retired parents who are done raising their children and treat 'Little Brody' more as their grandson (I enjoyed the parents, to be honest). Danny is the son of an alcoholic single-mother. These three best friends struggle to form a relationship, and keep their friendship alive after they breach the point-of-no return.

I'd stated my issues were two-fold, here is the other. First it was how the story was told, now it's the story itself. I need to reiterate, I loved the premise, but not the execution (across the board).

There was no romantic evolution, where it was a fluid bridging of their relationship into a throuple. Out of nowhere, on a whim with no buildup whatsoever, Henry and Brody decide to be intimate in order to protect and keep Danny away from an abusive boyfriend who is old enough to be his dad.

I enjoyed Danny's poems, understood the character, but he was not ready to be committed to anyone, most of all people who love him, where he could manipulate and then bail on them. Danny's character didn't work for me, didn't give me confidence to believe in the story the author was selling, because of the way it was delivered.

As our narrators, I connected the most with Brody and Henry, but the most with Brody. He was the glue, the giving, caring, empathetic friend in the triad – stable, always there for his friends. I could feel the connection between Brody and Henry during Brody's narration, and Henry and Brody during Henry's narration.

While I enjoyed Danny's poems, it left him by himself, not connecting to me as a reader, or to his two best friends. No matter what was going on in the book, Danny bailed. I understand the character development and his traits, but at the end, while Henry struggled, Danny bailed on Brody for no reason whatsoever, other than 'If Henry doesn't want you, neither do I.' Brody recognized that Henry still wanted to be there, but even the reader recognized Danny NEVER wanted to be there, judging by his actions/reactions.

This made me feel as if, in the future, Henry and Brody will weather all storms, but Danny will be off cheating to satisfy whatever emotions/insecurities come his way. This didn't have me rooting for the triad whatsoever, because it didn't seem plausible at their age or in the future, not with Danny in the mix, and I feel bad for Henry and Brody because of it.

All in all, I enjoyed the premise, but I felt the execution (writing) and choices the author made (scene-wise, especially dealing with Danny) made the story unrealistic and distanced me from the characters as the reader.

MIA KERICK is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Kirkus Recommended Review, a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Connect with Mia

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of It Could Happen by Mia Kerick to read and review.

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