Thursday, July 18, 2019

"All Boy" by Mia Kerick

All Boy
by Mia Kerick

All Boy by Mia Kerick

All Boy by Mia Kerick is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Weekend Bucket List, my blog post on My Crunchy Life, my blog post on Love Spell, my blog post on The Art of Hero Worship, and my blog post on The Princess of Baker Street.

Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.
With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.
From multi-award-winning author Mia Kerick, comes a powerful, timely, and life-changing novel, which follows two teenagers nursing broken hearts and seeking acceptance, and who together realize running away isn’t always the answer.

Book Video

After grabbing coffee at Central Campus Café, Lauren and I gravitate to our usual seats in Post Grad Advanced Psychology class in the Tremont Building. All fifth-year students are required to attend Advanced Psych. It’s used by the faculty as an opportunity to address us all together. Lauren and I always sit in the third row from the front, between the club soccer players, of which I’m one, and a boy as introverted as he is eye candy. And we’re positioned directly in front of this guy named Willy Lerner, who’s been nuts about Lauren since the moment he first set his slightly crossed eyes on her. Who can blame him? Lauren is the picture of perfection—petite, soft-spoken, and sweet. Everything I’m not.
And we, like sheep, are herded daily from our classes to the cafeteria for dinner to Evening Study Session. We already know the route well and do our best to proceed single file, from the chute to the gathering pen, without going astray. Astray, like we went during our first senior year in high school.
By the second week of classes, the fifth-years have settled into a steady groove at our elite prep school, Beaufort Hills Academy. Advanced Psych is our first class of the day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and it doesn’t meet until 10:30 AM, the late start a show of respect for our lofty post grad status.
It’s cool how the Academy gives its high school PGs a measure of freedom. They try to make us feel almost like we’re in college, not doing a fifth year at an uppity boarding high school for screw-ups with potential. But Mom’s right when she says they don’t give us enough rope to hang ourselves here. Our need for “gradual and structured access to freedom”—a direct quotation from the BHA post grad brochure—is why we’re spending a gap year in prep school reclaiming our squandered senior years instead of doing bigger and better things at highly selective universities.
“Hang on to your desk, Carlos, ’cause I feel an earthquake coming on.” Shawn Heck is three-for-three, starting last Friday, with the pre-class verbal harassment directed at moi. At least he’s predictable.
My palms sweat and my belly churns, just like last year when I even thought about returning to school after the incident.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“This was an incredible story about friendship, identity, finding what your heart wants and the strength to fight for your future.” ~ Teresa
“Mia Kerick tackles all the hard topics and she does it well.” ~ AussieReader
“Jayden was an amazing character, almost too good to believe honestly. I loved him, I loved every moment of his portrayal, and part of what I loved was his masculinity. He was every inch a man, and every inch a proper romance hero too. Definitely pick this one up. It’s intense, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t call it a ‘light’ read. It’s a worthwhile read, though, and that’s just as good.” ~ Jessica Voloudakis
“This one was powerful y'all. It takes YA angst and bullying issues, and body image struggles to the next level and beyond. It's insightful and well written and just a very different kind of story but also a very important one. […] A true YA romance with important discussions and a wonderful love story. Recommend this read!” ~ AurenRose
“All Boy was an interesting read and I wondered what I would have done if I was in Callie's position and if I would have been as strong and accepting as her in the end. All Boy features a transgender character and their journey from female to male and trying to be accepted by family and friends.” ~ The Phantom Paragrapher

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Callie is doing a fifth year of school at a private prep school in the hopes of reinventing herself after a disastrous experience in her senior year at her old school. She has the chance to fall in with Shawn and the popular crowd but finds herself more interested in quiet loner Jayden. Jayden is keeping his own secret. He’s given up his family, his home, and his softball scholarship to attend this school. And falling for Callie, or any girl for that matter, isn’t in his plans.
The story is told from the points-of-view of Callie and Jayden. Their voices are so similar it’s, at times, difficult to remember who’s narrating. Both characters have body image issues that they need to overcome. Callie is constantly putting herself down, and this becomes tiresome, especially as there is no evidence that there is anything “wrong” with her. It’s great to see the diversity in the characters – there’s even a Diversity Club at this school! However, there are also bullies, and your heart will ache for both Callie and Jayden, as they struggle to overcome the obstacles placed before them. At its heart, this book asks whether it is okay to keep secrets. It’s also about love – love for our friends and family, romantic love and, most importantly, self-love.
Warnings: mild coarse language, body image issues, sexual references, assault, LGBTQ themes.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“Shopping is not on my list of seven-hundred-and-fifty favorite things to do.”
“I don’t think either of us is particularly at ease with ourselves, and this makes it tough to be comfortable with somebody else.”
“A face and body are merely packaging for the essential stuff inside.”
“… what the crowd thinks of me is far less important than what I think of myself.”
“… it’s never too late, really. There’s no ‘too late’ to be a better person.”

About the Author
Mia Kerick
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children - one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it’s a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, 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, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.
Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made 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.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.

Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

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