Review: Loving Jay by Renae Kaye

One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he's not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.

An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality... unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he knew in life had been a convenient excuse to stay hidden. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.

I loved everything about this book.  No seriously, every last bit!  It was just so… so… charming.

We first meet Liam at the train station where he’s missed his train and he’s upset, not because he will be late for work but because he won’t be able to see the beautiful blonde he’s been fascinated with for the past few weeks.  Not that he’s gay or anything.  Nope.  Not gay.

    “My dad would kill me, so I can’t be gay.”

It was heartbreaking to read passages like that in this book.  I really felt for Liam and wanted to cuddle him close when he made comments like that.  What he was going through hit close to home.  You see, I recently watched my own child go through the anguish of coming out as transgender.  I watched my sweet baby, whom I love more than my own life start to withdraw from her friends and family.  Her grades started slipping in school and she seemed so depressed that I was afraid she was on the verge of suicide.  It turns out she just felt she was living a lie and was not comfortable in her own skin and she was so afraid of telling me what was going on.  So, I got where Liam was coming from.  I could see echos of my own child’s fear in Liam.  So when he finally came to terms with who he really is I was overjoyed.

    “Then I came to a sudden realization.  I’m so gay.”

What I liked most about this book is that everything seemed so real.  Like reading a story about my neighbor or cousin or friend.  Neither of the MCs had fancy or exciting jobs.  Neither of them were rich, nor were they orphans or savants.  They were just two everyday ordinary people who were in actuality, extraordinary.  Well, maybe just Liam.  Jay is nothing near ordinary.  But he wasn’t over the top either.  I’ve known people in real life who were a bit like Jay.  What Jay has is flair.  He has such a big heart too.  And lets not forget his infinite patience.

I think this may be the first time I truly was able to see and more importantly, understand how hard it can be for someone to come out.  I will never really completely understand what it is like because I am not gay but, due to the exemplary writing in this book I am able to comprehend quite a bit more about what goes on in the mind of a gay man on the verge of a life altering decision such as this.  My heart was breaking for Liam yet at the same time I was cheering him on whenever he reached a new milestone.  I have to say, I fell quite a bit in love with him and I pretty much see him as a hero.  True bravery is recognizing your fears, accepting them and reaching beyond them.  True heroism is being able to be true to yourself, seeing your flaws for what they are and pushing yourself to be the best you can possibly be despite, or sometimes even because of those flaws.  This is Liam.  This is why I love him.

    “You really are a hero, aren’t you?”

Yes, he really, truly is.

Even though I got caught up in all the feels in this book, it still came across as a light, fun read.  The silliness and the snark were a delight to read and both Jay and Liam just charmed the pants right off me.  I had a big, silly grin on my face through most of the book and I kept letting out smoopy sighs as I watched these two on their journey from friends to lovers to partners.  They were perfectly imperfect and I fell in love with both of them, almost from page one.

Renae Kaye, you are on my radar now.  I eagerly await your next work.  You are going to go far, I can see it.  Brava!

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