Blueberry Boys

Vanessa North. Riptide (riptidepublishing.com), $16.99 trade paper (186p) ISBN 978-1-62649-342-1
There’s nothing but optimism and gentle sweetness in North’s idyllic small-town love story of city boy and country boy. New York City fashion photographer Connor Graham escaped the parochialism and homophobia of his hometown of Blandford, Mass., after high school. He returns to visit after he inherits his family’s old blueberry farm. Connor is entranced by Jed Jones, the shy, stuttering, intense tenant farmer of the property, and as they become friends and then lovers, Connor begins to see how family can maintain loving connections even through conflict. Meanwhile, Jed develops the bravery to claim more for himself than clandestine hookups with closet cases and chat room buddies, despite his fear of church and family disapproval. Even North’s most explicit scenes bring romance more forward than lust, and even her most hateful characters are mostly redeemable sufferers of underdeveloped compassion. North (Double Up) indulges in stereotyped depictions of city living and urban gay models, suggesting she’s more at home with fields than gritty streets, but the story’s intimate emotional resonance has an appeal that carries the reader through. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/2015
Release date: 11/27/2015
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