Author Gene Gant gently reminds us about what it’s like for a young teen to come out to friends and family in his latest novel, King Geordi the Great. With biting humor and great compassion, we are introduced to Geordi, his parents, and his two best friends, Toff and Jessica. As this young threesome maneuver their way through life, Gant reminds us again and again what it’s like to have well-meaning parents whose sole job seems to be embarrassing their child. He also takes a keen look at how teens cope with everything from first love to life-changing loss.
Geordi never suspected that his dad and mom would actually throw a coming out party to celebrate his being gay without asking him if he wanted close friends and family to know. Thrust into the proverbial spotlight, he is shocked and upset when his best friend Toff angrily leaves the party, leaving Geordi confused as to why he would be so upset. Yes, he’d hid the fact he was gay from Toff, but not because he meant to—he just felt awkward not knowing how Toff would take it. Little did he know that Toff too held a secret and that secret was that he had fallen in love with Geordi nearly a year before.
If that wasn’t uncomfortable enough, when Geordi tells an upset Toff that he loves him, Toff misunderstands and thinks Geordi means he’s in love with him. Geordi knows he should tell Toff that he doesn’t feel the same kind of intense love Toff does, but every time he tries to do it, life hands Toff another curveball—the worst being that Toff’s emotionally distant father has disappeared and isn’t returning any of Toff’s calls. Now the threesome set off on a journey to find Toff’s dad and not one of them will return unchanged—especially poor Toff.
There were so many layers to King Geordi the Great, from what it’s like to be young, gay, and experience first love, to being forced to grow up way too fast. This isn’t just Geordi’s story, but Toff’s as well. Both boys must learn to maneuver in a world they never really expected to be in. For Geordi, it’s grappling with the idea that his best friend is in love with him and he isn’t really sure he feels the same. For Toff, it’s the realization that the father he thought he knew was a stranger who had checked out of life many years before. Both boys will ride an incredibly rough roller coaster of emotions as events unfold in this novel. In the end, it will be their friendship that carries them through and brings them together, closer than ever before. Along the way there will be humor, acceptance, and lots of love—supportive families, hot sudden crushes, and big revelations. But through it all, Geordi will always have one constant—a network of people who always have his back.
King Geordi the Great is a wonderful coming of age story that has just enough twists and turns to make it exciting and riveting. Author Gene Gant writes characters who come alive on the page and whose stories capture the heart and imagination. I highly recommend this novel to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.