Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Pages: 423
Date: 25/03/2014
Grade: 6
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Within her walls are stories. Love. Laughter. Tears. Lives lived to the fullest, and sometimes cut short before they really get started. She’s seen it all, from homelessness to super-stardom, boys dressed as girls, girls dressed as lamps, and boy, does she have secrets she could tell. Her one truth is that everyone who darkens her doors is accepted with open arms and a song. 

Her name is Queers, and for one of L.A.’s few dueling piano bars, she has a lot of heart. On her stage, the beautiful voice of Duff McKinley rings so true he captures the shattered heart of his boss, Brad Mosely, who checked out of life three years ago. But even lifelong dreams have untold consequences. 

Duff came to L.A. to chase his musical aspirations, but his best friend Garrett Slater accompanied him to chase a wish of his own: finding The One, his white knight. He believes Landon Kennedy fits the bill. Suave, handsome, and powerful in the music industry, Landon can show Garrett a life he's only seen in movies. But even as Landon helps Duff realize his dreams, he brings Garrett into a nightmare he may never leave, one from which Garrett's roommate, Jackson Moriarty, is determined to rescue him. If Garrett repays Jackson by seeing his own charms, so much the better. 

Yes, within her walls, Queers has long history. Unrequited love, sinister intentions, fame, fortune, and a group of friends and lovers who would do anything for each other no matter the cost.” 


My thoughts:

“Queers was a dichotomy of tasteful and fun, stylish and comfortable, with just the right amount of sass to make it trendy.”

I don’t know why it should be the case but I have a much harder time reviewing books I adored than books I had second thoughts about. I thought sleeping on this story might make it easier to articulate all the thoughts and feelings I encountered while reading ‘Queers’ but no such luck. As it turned out, all that decision got me was a rather disrupted sleep during which my mind was too busy processing the story, thinking about the characters and everything I was fortunate enough to share with them over the past two days to allow me a proper rest. I have therefore more or less given up on the idea of a well worded and balanced review and resigned myself to the fact that this will be – once again – a complete and utter gush-fest. You’ve been warned.

In fact, it seems I’m incapable of writing a review for one of A.J. Rose’s books without turning it into a gush-fest. Don’t blame me; blame the author who manages to transport me into his world from the very first word on the very first page and hold me hostage until the last full stop at the end of the last chapter. Blame the man who writes characters so life-like that you feel you personally know them within just a few chapters. And most of all, blame him who forces you to feel all the emotions; the love, the hate, the fear, the despair, the friendship and makes you grateful for every single one of them. I would say I’m in awe of A.J.’s writing except that ‘awe’ isn’t a strong enough word to describe all the feelings his words, and the way he uses them, evoke in me. But, I guess it will have to do for lack of a better one.

I’m not going to expand on what this book is about beyond what can be found in the official blurb. This story is something you’ll want to experience for yourself. I’ve avoided reviews of this book before I picked it up and am very grateful I managed to resist temptation. I treasured the fact that I got to know the characters as the story evolved, was grateful that I had no idea what to expect and entranced by the scenes unfolding before my eyes.

This is a book about people living their lives the best they can. People who love, fight, make up, do stupid things and try to repair them. It is a story about friendship and all the things you’ll do for your friends even if you end up hurting yourself in the process. It is the sort of story that will break your heart and then helps you gather the pieces back together to leave you feeling uplifted and somehow better for having read the words.

I laughed while I read this book:

“I suspect if I liked guys, and you liked girls, we’d have quite the tumultuous love affair that would end in tears, shattered knick-knacks thrown in a fit of rage and betrayal, and a domestic disturbance call. I bet you’re a minx in bed. And on the floor, and the kitchen counter. Moonshine to Duff

And I cried, sighed and smiled.

“I can go to my grave knowing I experienced real joy. How many people can say that?” Brad

This was right. This was what he needed like air, like sustenance, like the blood rushing through his veins. He needed Duff.” Brad

The accuracy of Duff’s definition of a live performance took my breath away.

It’s a conversation with the crowd, sir.”

A.J. Rose managed to take two – on the surface conflicting – universal truths and reconcile them. I love how he managed to remind us of the importance of dreaming big and following those dreams while cautioning us to be careful what we wish for at the same time. That was one very well executed balancing act.

I don’t think there is an emotion known to man that I didn’t experience while reading this book. I can honestly say that I fell at least a little bit in love with all but one of the characters in this book. Duff, Brad, Moonshine, Jennica, Garrett and Jackson; all of them have forced their way into my head and heart. And I can’t help feeling they’ll be staying there for quite some time yet.

The song Duff writes for and sings to Brad? Tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, while I found myself wishing that I could hear it being sung. And, I’m working on that. If my plan works out I may be able to add a sound file to this review in the not too distant future. Keep your fingers crossed.

I rate my books one to five. Sometimes I go beyond that and add one or more ‘+’s’ to a five when I’m really impressed with a book. And on very rare occasions I’ll rate a book with a six. That rate is reserved for books that manage to touch me on a deeper level; for stories that I know will stay with me long after I’ve all but forgotten about other books I may have enjoyed. A six is the rate I’ll give to a book when I know I’ll re-read it even though I rarely – if ever – revisit books. Queers meets all those criteria and then some.

In the hands of a lesser author this story would have been told in at least three different books. A.J. Rose managed to take multiple main characters with their individual - yet connected - journeys and create a complex yet perfectly plotted whole.  In doing so he transported me to a world I want to live in, populated by people I would love to know and call my friends. Reading is always a pleasure. Occasionally it is better than anything else I might be doing. Reading ‘Queers’ was just such an experience. Thank you, A.J.

“I don’t think it’ll matter if she’s gay, straight, or into aliens. There’s no resisting you.” Duff to Moonshine


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