Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: February 1st, 2021
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Firstly, thank you to NineStar Press for providing this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really wanted to like this book just a little more than I did. The premise is intriguing – a single night at a small town gay bar in Appalachia turns out to be life-changing for the locals. There’s a mix of emotions throughout the pages, along with a few revelations, some the characters sense are coming, others they’re completely taken aback by.
The characters are a mix of people, with various problems and personalities. They’re written well, they’re all vastly different, but unfortunately, out of all the people we’re introduced to, I only really found myself liking one or two. The others were just a bit grating, and in some cases a bit hard to root for. But overall, each character’s arc was followed through nicely, and all wrapped up quite well, leaving a satisfying feeling at the end.
The characters are realistic to a point, but the events that happen on this particular night felt a little forced, and almost too convenient. This is touched on again later, in a conversation where characters talk about “what are the chances”, which doesn’t do much to actually excuse away how much happens. Certain threads do feel like they’re picked up, forgotten, and forced back in later, with events happening around characters which they barely pay attention to.
The bar setting felt underused, and there could have been a bit more interaction from the different characters. As it was, it felt like different, separate short stories that all happened to take place at the same bar, but there could have been more connecting them, and it just felt a little off. Some of it leans a little too much towards ‘bleak’, and the framing device didn’t work all too well. However, as with all my reviews these are very subjective opinions, and I know there are readers out there who will look at my points and realise this might just be the right book for them.
The book is really well written, the emotional beats – when they come – work well, and the few characters I did connect to, I did so deeply, almost wishing I could spend more time with them than some of the others. Reed is a very talented writer, who really has a knack for tugging at a variety of emotions. The book is a little bit up and down, but I enjoyed reading it.