Saturday, November 8, 2014

eARC Review: Best Friends Perfect #2 by Liam Livings

He lives, with his partner, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex. He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears - olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets. He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day. He grew up on the edge of the New Forest – not in the New Forest mind, but on the edge. Now it’s a national park, it’s so much more glamorous. He went to uni in London and never really left. One evening, flicking through the channels, he stumbled across the film, Saving Private Ryan, and it took twenty minutes of not seeing Goldie Hawn in an army uniform, before he realised it wasn’t actually the film, Private Benjamin. When not writing, he also enjoys baking. 
He avoided any sport at secondary school by having an orthodontist appointment between the age of 14 and 16, and when he was old enough to drive, just drove home instead of playing rugby/hockey/whatever. He is a car geek, his particular passion is old French classics, and his every day car is what is popularly referred to as a ‘hairdressers car’ a Mazda MX5 in powder blue – Muriel. 

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1999, Kieran, 18 is searching Australia, the New Forest and London for Prince Charming with new best friend, Jo. They sample some men, and march with Pride. What happens when you fall for a straight man? What’s Jo’s solution, and why doesn’t Kieran agree?
Kieran introduces Jo to his other best friends, Hannah, Grace and Kev. The others don’t think Jo’s quite so perfect, but that’s just Jo is, isn’t it?
Kieran and Jo go to university in London, and meet Irish students Sean and Andrew. Why does Kieran feel more alone than ever? Where has Jo disappeared with Andrew? Will Sean call Kieran back?

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Liam Livings' works are one of the few gay fiction that I love to read. His works make for such interesting reads and screams realism even if the story is set in the 1990s. For readers like myself, a child of the 80s, it is wonderful to read a story that makes reliving those days a joy.

This is part two of the story that tells of the adventures and misadventures of Kieran as he sorts his life as a gay youth and actually get to enjoy the process. The friends and family all form a beautiful support group that is kind of idealistic, but truly, there are people like that out there. 

As could be read from all of the books written by this author, this is gay fiction at its best. Once the page is opened, it is impossible not to get lost within the world that unfolds, or even laugh at the silliness of the characters' actions. On that note, Livings has this gift of creating characters that drive the story to wherever it takes the readers. There are times when each character just frustrate but then comes about others where the only reaction is to sigh in relief and wonder that people like these actually exist.

What makes me love reading this adventure that is focused mostly on Kieran, is the way it makes me just relax into the story and just go with the flow of the plot unfolding. There are no twists or angsts that I would consider over-dramatic. Instead, the read is flawless in a way that before I even knew it, the (mis)adventure is done. Then I ask, where is the next page?

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