Buy Link: Riot Boy
Author: Katey Hawthorne
Publisher: Loose Id
I first heard about this book when reading a review on another blog and it caught my attention because I was planning for Rock Star Week (not to mention the gorgeous cover — seriously folks P.L. Nunn is a genius!). I wasn’t familiar with the book or the author but I couldn’t get it out of my mind so I grabbed it from my TBR mountain and I am so glad I did. I just loved this one you guys! Ok, so back to the beginning…
Etienne Fletcher is at a club with his sister who is encouraging him to “get back out there” after a breakup a few years before. In the mass of people his eye is drawn to a gorgeous guy in skinny jeans, tight punk rock t-shirt, eye liner, and gelled hair. When the guy approaches, Etienne can’t believe his luck, especially when the guy (dubbed “riot boy” for his t-shirt), gets all hot up against him as they dance. However, riot boy is suddenly called away and Etienne figures that will be the last of things. Much to his surprise, riot boy (Brady Sinclair) shows up the next day at Etienne’s regular coffee shop looking for him. Brady claims to have found his credit card and wanted to return it (although Etienne has his suspicions, remembering the hand in his pocket while they danced).
Etienne and Brady begin to get to know each other, both with hot (HOT!) hookups and by spending time together. Brady is wild, fun, smart, and challenging, and Etienne is totally drawn to him. But he has a lot of vulnerability that Etienne recognizes as well. Brady has a strong need to be loved and wanted, not to mention something is clearly going on with the guys following him around. Oh, and did I mention Brady also has super powers to cool things with his hands? Despite all of this, Etienne can’t resist Brady (nor could I), and as the men fall in love they must find a way to handle Brady’s past so that they can have a future together.
Ok, so many things to love about this book. First, Brady is the total bad boy that you can’t resist. Yes, he is a petty thief, panics when things get intense, doesn’t own a phone, and can be totally outrageous. But he is also confident, smart, loving, and cares deeply for Etienne. I love these guys together because they are a couple that should never work on the outside, but are actually a perfect for one another. Etienne is a bit of an intellectual, manages a bookstore, and lives a pretty normal, if lonely, life. Yet Brady is exactly what he needs, giving him love, companionship, intellectual stimulation, and a renewed confidence to push for what he wants and stand up for himself.
Brady is a bass player in a local punk rock band that plays at a small club. Hawthorne does a great job of incorporating the music and the rocker vibe into the book. Despite his seemingly vanilla style, Etienne grew up listening to a lot of punk rock with his sister, and he surprises Brady with his knowledge of punk music. From Brady’s homemade rock shirts to the guys discussing their favorite Buzzcocks song, music is a big part of the story and interwoven very well. (In fact, Hawthorne includes a great song list at the end of the book with the music included in and inspiring the story.)
I also really liked the way Brady’s superpowered status is woven into the story. As Etienne slowly begins to notice something unusual about Etienne, the backstory about Brady’s abilities is revealed. We learn about what Brady’s powers are and more about these people who call themselves the “awakened.” And we discover how Brady’s power is at the root of his problems with his family and his past. I liked the way this is developed within the book without overpowering the basic love story between Brady and Etienne. I think Hawthorne gives us enough detail and world building to make it all make sense without having the super powers steal the show.
My favorite part was Etienne’s voice. We hear the story from Etienne’s POV, which for me totally works. By seeing events through Etienne’s eyes, we get to better understand what is really behind Brady’s public image to the more vulnerable person underneath. I loved hearing Etienne’s inner voice as he recognizes that Brady is a person he probably shouldn’t want and who isn’t the safest bet in the boyfriend department. Yet Etienne just can’t resist Brady, and he is totally content with that. From the day after they first get together:
Even in the depleting fall sunshine, I could recall the events, the emotions and sensations that had passed in the dark. Rationally, I knew I should be wary. He was clearly damaged, used up in ways my relatively sheltered and cared-for existence didn’t allow me to fathom. But now that I knew for certain it was there, it was so much less disturbing than the suspicion of some unnamable potential trouble had been.
And not just because he could deep throat like a pro, either. Nice bonus, anyone would agree, but no. It never occurred to me not to leave him a note, not once, because even if it took me forever–as I suspected it would–I had to know Brady Sinclair.
Plus Etienne totally cracks me up with his observations and his reactions to both Brady and his own feelings.
So yes, I totally loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It was a great mix of fun, outrageous, and a little crazy, combined with a really sweet and moving romance. I loved Brady and Etienne, both apart and together, and really enjoyed watching their relationship develop and grow. I am looking forward more Superpowered Love stories and from Hawthorne.
P.S. I so need a “Fuck Me, Etienne” t-shirt!
Cover Review: I know I mentioned this up above, but seriously, P.L. Nunn does gorgeous work. I love the look of the cover as well as how it totally captures the vibe of both guys.
Be sure to stop by the Rock Star Week Giveways post for a chance to win Riot Boy and a bunch of other great books!