Scotty has been hiding his sexuality ever since he realized he was gay at the age of 13. In high school in a small town in Louisiana, there is no option but to hide. His hiding includes his relationship with the star of the football team, Jean. The boys sneak off whenever they can, but Jean keeps up appearances by dating girls. One night during dinner, Scotty just cannot take it anymore and tells his parents he is gay. His father gives him five minutes to get out.
After living with his grandmother for a short time, life becomes increasingly difficult when Scotty is outed by the one person he loves the most. Leaving for New Orleans, Scotty is determined to find some type of life for himself, but is completely unprepared for life on the streets. A chance meeting has him working in a gay bar as a janitor and then as a dancer. He is off the streets, but his heart refuses to let go of Jean no matter how many offers from men he has.
Life for Jean does not get any better back at home either and he finally becomes determined to find Scotty and have a relationship out in the open. Even though Scotty loves Jean, layers of hurt and rejection have Scotty on guard. For two young men, a new start and a life on their own terms may just become something worth fighting for.
How can you not just like Scotty from page one? He is so tired of hiding, just wants to be with Jean and be comfortable in his own skin. How can you not just loathe his parents? His mother stays silent and his father sends Scotty out the door with whatever he can cram into his backpack. How can you not just appreciate his grandmother who tries to do whatever she can for Scotty? Despite all of this, the angst in this story is fairly low. Scotty has some real issues to deal with, but the events are not drawn out and are not overly dramatic.
Scotty lands somewhat on his feet with the help of Butch, who owns a nightclub. He has a place to stay, a job, and despite what life has thrown at him, a fairly decent attitude. He is completely in love with Jean and because of that is fairly forgiving. The story is told from Scotty’s perspective and we do not get to see Jean’s take on things. Jean causes Scotty so much heartache and he does not try to rectify anything until life turns on him, which does not make him the most sympathetic character. And, he has almost a complete change in attitude in a very short amount of time.
The one issue that really stuck out at me was Scotty’s talks about money. He clearly has none and is saving for his own place to live. He talks several times about the great money he makes dancing and then in almost the next breath he is talking about having no money. In the grand scheme of things, he does not have real money, but he seemingly has money for a few day to day items and the continual flipping on that issue is inconsistent.
The story is a fairly easy read. Scotty is easy to like and I was rooting for him, but there is just a little something missing from the connection overall. It’s the kind of story you feel like you are looking in on, but not fully part of. The story is a bit predictable a lot of the way through, the guys have to grow up fast, but despite the issues they are facing, everything works out really nice and neat and comfortable and easy, and you get the point. Burnt Reflections offers a great character in Scotty and would be a good choice for a story dealing with real life elements and standing up for who you are.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.