Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: David Kaplan
Length: 2 hours, 19 minutes
Brian was taken by Tate “Talker” Walker the first time he sat by him on a bus ride from a track meet. It took a year and a half to finally weaken Tate’s defenses enough for Brian to befriend him.
The next semester, Brain and Tate move in to their own apartment and get jobs. Brian settles in with his girlfriend while Tate dreams and talks of the day he’ll lose his virginity. Then Tate tells Brian the unthinkable, sending Brian into protective mode. It takes Tate leaving on a date with a douchebag and Brian’s girlfriend to open his eyes to the fact that not only is Brian gay, but he’s in love with his best friend. The problem is Brian can tell Tate all day long, but Tate sees it as only platonic love, and he needs to figure himself out.
After another of Tate’s disastrous dates, even worse than the last, Brian goes to his aunt for help. Brian needs to make Tate see him and, in turn, take care of his dangerous behavior. The plan could backfire, but Brian has to try. He has to keep Tate safe above all because no one loves Tate Walker as much as Brian.
This story has long been one of my favorites. As a matter of fact, it was the first book of Amy Lane’s I ever read. The entire Talker series is as fabulous as it is powerful. It’s probably one of the best coming of age/coming out stories I’ve read. So passionate and heartfelt, I find it difficult not to read it over and over again.
The relationship between Brian and Tate is what is so captivating here. Tate has obviously been rejected and hurt his entire life, so when he meets Brian, he expects the same. And when Brian proves time and time again that he’s not the rest of the world who’ve turned their backs on him, Tate begins to open himself up. The beauty of this story is seeing those windows into the real Talker before he’s torn down again. It’s the building up and the safety that Brian provides to bring that shiny back. For such a short read, the relationship, or beginning thereof, is so complete and satisfying.
I also love the conflict in this story. Brian’s inner conflict and discovery is a great pathway in this plot. His basic purpose is to find and love who he is before he can be what Talker needs. Then there’s all of Talker’s bad choices and the things he does just to feel something. For real, this book gives me all the feels.
Now, as for the narrator, he’s good. David Kaplan brings life to this story. His pacing is good. However, there are a few place where he mispronounces names—calling Brian “Ryan” and Aunt Lindy “Aunt Lindsey.” That and he doesn’t change inflection or tone when switching characters, which made it just a little bit difficult to keep the characters straight. But overall, he is a really good narrator.
All in all, I adore this book. Always have. And now in audio, I have found new ways to enjoy it. If you’ve not read (or listened to) Talker, I highly recommend you do—by written word or audio. If you have, why not read it again.
Note: Rape is alluded to in this story but never seen on page.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.