Tag Team Review: Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

First love - coming of age - family - acceptance

When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he's known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now - finally - the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.

Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie's science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.

But things are changing.

Families are important, and complex. Charlie's mum hasn't been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.

Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?


WARNING: includes moderately explicit scenes of intimacy between consenting young adult males.

Averaged rating ;D

Fantasy Living- 4 Hearts

Claire Davis and Al Stewart continue to make magic together. I know when I read something by this pair, it is going to tug on my heart, while making me laugh. A perfect balance of serious, with some lightness to keep hope alive. This story was a beautiful mix of slow reveal, and exceptional character development.

Charlie is struggling to hold it together in the face of his mother’s dementia. Anthony, his neighbour, and lifelong friend, is the rock he leans on when things get hard. As they enter university, their relationship begins to evolve, but Charlie’s not sure he can hold onto Anthony as his mother’s illness starts to progress to something unmanageable and scary.

Charlie is lovely. He’s quirky, and we get to see the whole picture of who he is as the story progresses. His relationship with Anthony is covered well in this story. I liked the way they interacted. They seemed to belong together in a way that complimented each other's quirks.

The poem’s… An Al Stewart speciality (if you pay attention to his Goodreads page). Ridiculous and funny. Something that breaks up the serious, but still has that undertone of life and its unforgiving nature to punch us all in the junk from time to time.

The way Charlie’s and Anthony’s relationship progresses into more seems completely natural and the way it should always be. These two are forever friends, and that feeling comes across well.

Charlie’s pain as he watches his mother deteriorate comes through the pages and hit me right in the heart. This story takes a brief, but hard look at the ailing mind of the parent who was always there, and now can’t be. As a reader, I wanted it to just go away, and everything to be fine, but the beauty of this story was that it doesn’t, and I know it can’t, but I get to focus on the small moments that make it worth the heartache.

Obviously this story was a pleasure to read. I enjoyed the style, flow, and build up. I feel completely satisfied by the plot, and the way the story moved. I felt like I knew these boys, and I could see where things were going.

Recommended for those who enjoy some raw grit with their romance. This is a slow burn, but with a rich plot and strong characters.

Lorix - 5 Hearts
"Nasty things peas, taste like dog bile."
Sometimes you just know that you and a book are going to get along just fine. More than fine, even - and that was the case with this book and me. I knew from the first page that we were going to be buddies, the above line just cemented the deal. Peas are singularly the most disgusting vegetable there is, and don't even start me on the mushy variety. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

My love for this book was about more than just a shared agreement on the vileness of peas, though. It was the kind of read I enjoy so much I want to force everyone else to read it too. It made me laugh and cry. I felt full of love for Charlie and Anthony, and their families.

This is a friends to lovers story (yay!!), written with the unique style of Claire Davis and Al Stewart (I seriously do not know why I've not read more from this duo). I don['t know if it's the Brit in me that appreciates this style, because it feels pretty British to me, but it's a way of writing that utterly appeals. Cleverly written characters, who are fun and real and individual, in a story that is both humorous and sad.

I've highlighted several passages on my kindle - but I don't want to spoil the freshness of the story by writing them all here. My notes were, at times, quite simply "sigh" because the writing was so wonderful it required nothing else. This has gone onto my favourite reads of 2016 shelf and I would recommend anyone try it out. A really wonderful read.

Check out on Goodreads!

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