cover image The Importance of Being Kevin

The Importance of Being Kevin

Steven Harper. Dreamspinner, $14.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-64405-257-0

Harper’s debut novel tells a beautiful yet heart-wrenching story of overcoming tribulations with the power and strength of loving oneself. Kevin, 16, stuck being gay and poor in a conservative small town, joined a gang and attacked another teen, and only his youth has kept him out of jail. When his probation officer insists that he get a job or participate in a summer program, he auditions for the community play. He is surprised to win one of the lead parts, and he immediately falls for the other lead, 19-year-old Peter. The second night they kiss after rehearsal is also the night Kevin’s raped on his way home by villainous Les, who videotaped Kevin and Peter and threatens to reveal their relationship. After Kevin confides in Peter, Peter goes to Les’s home and beats him up. The next day, Les is found battered—and dead. Peter denies murdering him but is arrested nonetheless, and must now face his parents, who own half the town, finding out about his relationship with Kevin. Readers will fall for this sweet couple’s discovery of love as they seek the killer and learn to assert their true selves. (July)