cover image What It Takes

What It Takes

Jude Sierra. Interlude (, $16.99 trade paper (274p) ISBN 978-1-941530-59-7

At the beginning of this tender and beautifully written love story, two eight-year-old boys meet on a beach: Milo, running away from his new home, trips over Andrew’s sand art. Andrew dreams of being an artist; Milo just wants to be a grown-up, because when you’re grown, “no one can hurt you.” An initial rift, caused when Andrew reports wounds inflicted by Milo’s father, mends with Andrew’s uneasy promise of silence. Over the years Andrew becomes a caretaker, helping Milo breathe through panic attacks, while Milo, “strained and overwhelmed” by his father’s demands for excellence, longs for escape. Their sexual awakenings occur at different times, forcing them to navigate fear, attraction, longing, and rejection. Their love helps them realize their need for separation, but when they meet again as adults, they wonder whether their time has come at last. Sierra (Hush) uses rich characterization and lyrical writing to infuse this slow-building romance with depth, humor, and pathos. Readers will savor every dip and peak of Milo and Andrew’s relationship as they balance the need for safety with the necessary risk of pursuing happiness. (Jan.)