This is a phenomenal book I think that parents should read this book so they can begin to understand what their children may be going through Juliann Rich tackles a hard topic with such realism and beauty it makes you truly be with the characters and see and feel what they are going through I think this should be given to parents, teens and even dare I say Sunday school teachers and some ministers so they can see the struggles teens or anyone for that matter goes through when they are coming to terms with their body, who they are attracted to and how it may conflict with their beliefs and societal beliefs in their religion.The nuances and richness that Juliann Rich places in this book allow you to see the story in a light that has you understand this young man and his struggles Both young men to be honest Jonathan is a christian boy who has always done as expected of him A sweet guy who is lost He is trying to live up to some high expectations, his dad is in Iraq and his mom s happiness is his responsibility for now Every year he goes to bible camp and every year it fulfills him Simon one of the counselors helps him each year in getting him to become into his own Love Simon he is so understanding and open minded Without Simon Jonathan would be so lost and confused and hating himself.So Jonathan sees Ian Ian is gay Jonathan is attracted to him and Ian to Jonathan But Ian has issues, his parents walked away from him when he admitted to them he was gay so he is feeling anger and insecure Jonathan is confused He really likes Ian but his religion tells him it s a sin and so he prays the attraction will go away Except it doesn t, it grows intense The Jonathan and Ian get to know each other, the closer they become and the confused and ashamed Jonathan feels He is getting pulled in so many directions One night these two come to a head and Jonathan gets petrified of everything and runs hurting Ian in the process It is Simon who helps Jonathan Simon who makes Jonathan see he isn t an abomination and that loving someone no matter who they are is beautiful and right That he can be gay and be happy and still believe in God Took Jonathan awhile but he got there It s too bad it was at the end of the camp time but he and Ian do work things out I do hope we see a book about these two and if they are still helping each other heal and accept Still love each other.A poignant and real story of one very confused boy and how he comes to terms with himself, who he is attracted to, his religion and who he loves A coming to terms book in which the young boy becomes a man in terms of acceptance of himself, who he loves and will love and his love for Ian.So powerful and enriching to see the struggle and acceptance play out so vividly and beautifully Jonathan finally sees beyond the light instead of into it. Review first published at GayYA.orgJuliann Rich s debut novel Caught in the Crossfire is a new and much needed story in Gay YA literature.The book is about a gay teen who is a devout Christian, and struggling to reconcile those two things We first meet Jonathan at the beginning of a month long bible camp At the beginning of the story, Jonathan is aware of his feelings for guys, but not too eager to try and understand them We re also introduced to Ian, the love interest, quite early Ian, we learn, is also gay and is much outspoken about gay rights The beginning of Jonathan s friendship with Ian is the catalyst to him really discovering his sexuality and forcing him to come to terms with what it means for him and his faith.In a previous post, I mentioned how this book reminded me of fan fiction That is not a diss at all if you look down on fan fiction, you probably have never read a really really good one The thing about fan fiction, is that it talks about sex in a very honest and yes, explicit, way And because of this, it can show what consent and safety looks like, what the repercussions and aftereffects can be, better than anything else That s what made me reckon this book to fan fiction the honesty with which she talks about sex.Two of the main supporting characters were a Native American woman, and a disabled man I was happy when they came into the story, because all too often gay white boys become the face of diversity, and Caught in the Crossfire avoided that pitfall The thing that made me particularly happy was that they weren t given worth simply because a white guy decided to like them They were fully formed characters who held their own space, and even gave HIM worth with their gazes But it was also very clear they had lives of their own, outside of helping Jonathan which is not only realistic, but also very respectful and unfortunately not often done.Along the same lines, in many love stories between two guys, there s always a female that falls into the desperate cock blocking bitch While there was a girl in this story that was interested in Jonathan, I think you would have to stretch very far to throw that at her.This is an important book because although I ve seen queer characters struggle with their sexuality because they re in religious families, most of them at the end abandon the religion, and in some cases their entire religious community Which isn t to say that path is wrong It s just important to have stories about the kids who decide to go a different way Although I think this is a book anyone would like, it s an important book for queer teens growing up in Christian families, and the people who make up those families Having gone through a situation like that myself, I found myself wishing I had this book four years ago so I could hand it to all my Christian friends.A new era of Gay YA has come, that have queer characters that aren t defined solely by their queerness Caught in the Crossfire definitely falls into that camp I don t know how that s possible, because Jonathan s sexuality is sort of a huge part of the book, but somehow, he s never defined solely or even predominately by his sexuality Which was pretty cool, because like, as a queer teen, yes there is a lot I m still exploring and some of my life is revolving around that, but not enough that it becomes all of who I am.And aside from all of that, the story was beautifully written and highly enjoyable Usually in first person POV, I begin to feel like I m in the author s head instead of the characters that didn t happen with this book I d go so far as to say that this is the best first person POV I ve ever read Jonathan s voice never wavered The other character s voices were also extremely clear and consistent Juliann somehow mastered the art of capturing distinctly different voices without bogging the dialogue down with speech tics I found that I always knew who was speaking before I read the tag.The plot clipped along at a nice pace and no part of it felt like it dragged or was rushed The description Juliann used really made me feel like I was there, seeing all of it The characters were lovable and realistic, and went on amazing journeys.When I first picked up Caught in the Crossfire I honestly didn t expect much from something so thin, but it took me places I did not expect I read it in two days I cried three times And I would definitely recommend it I can t wait to read the sequel Searching for Grace when it comes out this September I received this book from Bold Strokes Books at Netgalley So thank you very much When I received this book from netgalley to review, I was interested a bit in the summary otherwise I wasn t so sure I would love this book It is only after I cracked open the novel that I realized I was completely wrong on my assumption, and instead fell for the plot line given With all honesty, the young adult novel, Caught In The Crossfire , has opened my eyes and mind to stories that revolve around camps and the adventures that may occur The setting is placed in a bible camp, and from the summary, you will discover the story focusing on two young teens that fall for each other and having to face the battles that occur together Now I can see that the battles will be difficult, since the camp is a place that resents homosexual love, but the characters have shown to be strong boys and will learn about their developing feelings for one another and how God may view their relationship Jonathan Cooper is a young man who holds his religion close to his heart, unlike Ian who could careless, and as a result, has the most difficulty in the relationship It is with the help of Ian, that Jonathan starts to change from being a person who rarely revealed their feelings, into a young man who can accept what he thinks and feels Along the way, he also starts to open his mind and see of what God truly feels about his people and as a result, becomes stronger in his own right Now Ian McGuire was a mystery in the first half of the book, him being sarcastic and cocky though, these being the attributes that draw in Jonathan It is only after the two start to converse and connect, does it reveal him opening up The romance held within the pages of this book is cute and makes you love the characters for the secrets they had to hide from the rest of camp All the events that play out makes for a interesting plot line and romance Overall, I love this story a lot and recommend it to all of those who love stories with Glbt genre and young adult genre all in one. I was lucky enough to receive the ARC for Caught in the Crossfire, and I devoured it in one sitting With Minnesota s rugged and mysterious North Shore as the setting, Juliann Rich sets the tone for her debut novel An honest, heartbreaking, and beautiful story about first love, readers will immediately fall for golden boy, Jonathan, and, at the same time, be drawn to Ian s wild ways The relationship that follows is sweet, awkward, frustrating, and downright steamy at times You ll be rooting for them from the first chapter until the last I can safely say this is an important book for those still struggling with sexuality because of some belief they really live with Christianity leading the list They ll really feel the pain and anxiety brought by decisions that could really tear them apart.I m pretty sure of this This is written for closeted gay Christians This is to help them, to at least present some Christian views accepting homosexuality And that cause alone deserves a plus star with my supposedly 2 star it s just okay rating.But the thing is the book does not go beyond what you would expect with such a premise Okay, a story about a closeted gay Christian in a Bible Camp You ll think view spoiler 1 He meets a boy with a loose faith.2 they get attracted to each other.3 the closeted supresses his feelings because it s a sin 4 they still get attracted to each other to the point of doing sensual things even though closeted boy does not want to sin.5 closeted boy tries to stop things between them.6 the other boy gets hurt.7 closeted boy feels guilty and pained because he really likes the other boy.8 closted boy talks to his Christian leaders.9 leader 1 doesn t not agree with homosexuality10 leader 2 accepts homosexuality rumblerumble 11 closeted boy understands leader 2.12 closted boy tries to reconcile with the other boy13 damage has been done but they ll start something new14 summer Bible camp ends with closeted boy being openy gay with his mom and friends.15 now openly gay boy and the other boy decide to talk and build something from scratch after this summer Bible camp cue feels hide spoiler Our world is changing before our eyes For the older generations, they ve seen so many changes it would boggle the mind Growing up, they ve seen racial segregation come to a halt, interracial couples no longer needing to hide their love for one another, interracial marriage, homosexuals being able to walk down the street together and now same sex marriage No, not everyone is accepting of everything I just listed, but basic civil right freedoms being given to all is a step in the right direction to bring the prejudices to a halt Knowledge will make you free, change will make you free, ignoring what s before your eyes will only bring you and others pain This is a story about a boy who realizes he s not like the other boys but because of people s prejudices, feels the pain of being different.I was a little stuck in the rating of this book On one side, it s a great read for the YA audience, an outlet of information for those who are reading to either understand their or others sexual orientation Acceptance starts with awareness, and awareness starts with knowledge Ignorance is not bliss Now, on the other hand, the basic premise of this story has been played out many times over in one way or another Christian boy ashamed of feeling what he feels, but starts to accept it when he meets someone like himself A first love sparked in bible camp, which is forbidden and ridiculed by the close minded christian campers and counselors A fallout and a realization.The author created all the characters in this book perfectly I could see each one as I read through the book I could feel their emotions coursing through them and I could sense the way their brains were churning I wanted to hug Jonathan and reassure him, yell at Ian to be understanding, punch Jake where it counts for being such an ignorant jerk, shake reality into Paul and thank Simon for being the rock that Jonathan needed so much A group of people, with all their individual thoughts, brought together in a way that will be a turning point for most of them There is a line in this book that hits the thought of homosexuality right on the head, Weren t gay guys just about casual relationships that were based on sex This right here is why same sex couples get the heat that they do, clueless people not realizing that a man can have a loving relationship with another man, same with women Homosexuality is not about sex, it s about loving someone like yourself I look forward to the day when there are no terms for people based on who they want a relationship with or not.Yes, there is a heavy Christian aspect to this book, but the message that is given in the long run, as one character stated, Hate is Hate Loving someone of the same sex doesn t change you, you are the same person you were all along, you just aren t hiding yourself away any, you actually are better than what you were because you are accepting you for you People talk about the Bible and all it says about homosexuality, but in this story you learn so much of the Bible You learn about some of the goofy things in it that have been pushed to the side over the years because it is just a bit outlandish The writing is good, terms are contemporary, situations are realistic Any person who is open to this genre will come out knowing than they did going into it I would like to know how Jonathan s relationship with his parents were after camp was over with I have a feeling that his parents came around and embraced their son and accepted him for who he is, at least I hope that s what happened Okay, I have decided on my rating Before starting my review, I was sure this was a 3 star, but after writing this and thinking about the story even , it is a solid 4 star book. Caught in the Crossfire tells the story of Jonathan Cooper, a sixteen year old who falls in love with a boy at Bible camp, forcing him to come to terms with what lies within his heart, as well as the heart of his faith Yes, it is a story about a teen coming out in an unaccepting environment But it will resonate with anyone who has had to grapple with the fact that his identity differs from what others believe him or want him to be.It is a beautifully and lovingly written book with an authentic voice For those who have ever spent time at a camp in the woods, it will whisk you right back For those who haven t, you will feel like you were there I was drawn in to Jonathan s story, as well as the lives of the other characters Ian, Simon, Dawn, even Paul Each of them so different and diverse but all fully fleshed, and most importantly, each drawn with compassion I sincerely hope this book finds its way into the hands of the teens and parents who need it, and onto the shelves of school libraries for all those kids who may not yet realize they need it It s that important. Two Boys At Bible Camp One Forbidden LoveThat Is The Dilemma Sixteen Year Old Jonathan Cooper Faces When He Goes Away To Spirit Lake Bible Camp, An Oasis For Teen Believers Situated Along Minnesota S Rugged North Shore He Is Expecting A Summer Of Mosquito Bites, Bonfires With S S, And Photography Classes With Simon, His Favorite Counselor, Who Always Helps Jonathan See His Life In Perfect FocusWhat He Isn T Expecting Is Ian McGuire, A New Camper Who Openly Argues Against Phrases Like Pray The Gay Away Ian Is Certain Of Many Things, Including What Could Happen Between Them If Only Jonathan Could Surrender To His Feelings Jonathan, However, Tosses In A Storm Of Indecision Between His Belief In God And His Inability To Stay Away From Ian When A Real Storm Hits And Ian Is Lost In It, Jonathan Is Forced To Make A Public Decision That Changes His Life I had the chance to meet Juliann Rich at The Loft Literary Center s Children s and Young Adult literature conference and bought her book because I sat in on one of her panels and found her to be both funny and approachable Let me say, the book does not disappoint Caught in the Crossfire is a wonderful coming of age story about a sixteen year old boy named Jonathan who falls in love with another boy named Ian during summer Bible camp Rich nailed my own memories of summer camp perfectly right down to the sounds of cricket songs at night and the tokens used at the camp canteen But importantly, she nailed the experience of not being able to deny who you are for one minute no matter what the cost might be to your life Rich has written a book that teens will enjoy as well as a book that will be hugely helpful for parents who might be struggling to support their gay kids While I don t usually read books with a religious theme, I m glad I took a chance on this important book It will stay with me for a long time.I look forward to reading future Juliann Rich novels. I was intrigued by the premise of this book, a young boy at bible camp tries to reconcile his beliefs with his growing attraction to another boy Unfortunately, the book never lived up to the intrigue of the premise I found the first half boring and skimmed most of it When Jonathan finally acts on his feelings for Ian, the story that enfolds just didn t delve deep enough The characters all felt a little too clich There was everyone I expected to be in a book like this homophobic bible thumpers, peer bullies, disapproving parents, token supportive guy but no one I didn t expect, no surprises Then there was the counselor who outs Jonathan to his mother Considering that Jonathan is in a turmoil about coming out to his parents, the fact that it never actually happens in the story is a tremendous letdown There was no discussion, just a few words with his mother that didn t lead anywhere It was all a bit anti climactic in the end and rather disappointing.
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- 192 pages
- Caught in the Crossfire (Crossfire, #1)
- Juliann Rich
- 06 November 2018 Juliann Rich