Narrator: Kevin R. Free
Length: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Evan Hanson is crushing hard on You Tube sensation Tony Taylor. Evan remembers Tony from when he was Anthony and they were in the same biology class. But now Tony is all grown up, with a series of shirtless videos and thousands of subscribers all eager to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous man with the big heart. Evan knows everything about Tony from watching his videos, especially the ones where he bares his soul about his feelings on relationships and his desire to find love. When the men end up meeting at a party, Evan is stunned to finally come face to face with the object of his desire. He is even more surprised that Tony seems into him, despite the fact that Tony has a boyfriend. Now that Evan might actually have a chance with his dream man, he needs to figure out what is real and what is fantasy.
This is such a fun and sweet short story, I listened to it all in one sitting without coming up for air. Evan is totally adorable with his crush on Tony. Even knowing it is silly he can’t help himself and his dreamy sighs over Tony’s signed picture are kind of sweetly dorky. Of course, Tony is totally hot, but Evan has watched every video and really feels like he knows the man Tony is inside. But he has fallen in love with an image, and I love the way Bell plays with the idea of the public Tony versus the private one, and that being familiar with someone’s online persona isn’t the same as really knowing them.
I can’t say a lot more without spoiling the story, but I found this one quite charming. It is not really a YA as the men are all adults, but there is definitely a light sweetness to the story that gives it a YA feel. There is no sex or any real talk of it between the men, though it is clear that the guys are sexually active in general. It is instead a sweet romance that really left me with all the warm fuzzies.
I listened to this one on audio, and as I said, I gobbled it up one sitting. It is short story length so it makes for a very quick listen comparatively. The narrator, Kevin R. Free, is the same one who so excellently narrated Bell’s Seasons books. I did have some vague glimmers of Ben’s voice from Something Like Summer when I listened to this one, but overall I think it works well. Free really does a great job capturing that young man voice, and Evan’s earnestness and sincerity, as well as his humor, really come through. I had some trouble with Evan’s best friend Julie, as her voice came across as very nasal and sort of whiny much of the time. But the men’s voices all worked well for me and were nicely differentiated.
I think you would be well served either reading or listening to this one. As a shorter book, it is priced lower than most full length audiobooks so it may be a nice way to get a feel for the medium if you are not sure about listening to books versus reading them. But audiobooks in general are pricier than ebooks, and you may want to just grab this one for 99 cents in book form as it is a total steal. Either way you go, this is a great story. It is sweet, romantic, and has some nice surprises along the way. Definitely worth giving a try.
P.S. As of 7/15/14 this book is free on Amazon and ARe. Not sure how long the deal is on, but grab it while you can!