Ellis is a senior at high school, a geek, and gay, although he has never admitted this publicly, even to his family. Ellis is constantly harassed at school by football player, Mark, who has no logical reason for his bullying. Ellis suspects Mark has guessed his sexuality, but has no proof of this. On the day Ellis wonders why no-one ever stops this visible bullying, soccer player Dale steps in telling Mark to leave Ellis alone. Ellis is confused by Dale’s actions, after all, Dale is everything Ellis isn’t: popular, hot, and he has a girlfriend.
When Ellis and Dale are paired together for an English assignment, Dale decides to appoint himself as Ellis’ bodyguard. As their friendship blossoms into more, Ellis learns that Dale has his own secrets and when Mark exposes the pair’s relationship, both Ellis and Dale have decisions to make about who they really want to be.
I love the sweetness of young adult romances and in A Good Enough Reason, C.M. Lievens really captures this. Ellis and Dale are adorable characters who the reader relates to with ease. Lievens increases this connection by introducing the reader to both sets of families and the everyday dinner conversations, as well as the more cringeworthy discussions about condoms and sex!
A Good Enough Reason is definitely more centered around the romance between Dale and Ellis and their individual struggles, rather than sex. I think this is appropriate for the novel’s young adult audience, but there is also enough engaging plot content for older readers that this becomes irrelevant. The fact that Ellis and Dale do not have penetrative intercourse does not mean that there is no fooling around or lack of passion between the pair. Lievens brilliantly conveys the intensity of each kiss and touch because of the expectancy and sincerity of Ellis and Dale’s emotions.
One of the most significant elements of A Good Enough Reason is that Dale is bisexual. Lievens is very careful in her portrayal of him and emphasizes that he is choosing to be with Ellis because of genuine attraction; it is not a whim or sexual experiment.
A Good Enough Reason has a plot that evolves in an unexpected way and I really liked how Ellis grows in confidence and becomes comfortable with his own identity.
Lievens’ novel is thoughtful, romantic, and unpretentious, as well as being utterly enjoyable.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.