Review: Pictures of You (90's Coming of Age #1) by Leta Blake

Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder. 

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1991—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends, preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn't do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter's swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices? And will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, open a new path?

Join Peter in the first of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

This new series by Leta Blake is gay fiction with romantic elements.

Book 1 of 4.

Warning! These books contain: New Adult fiction, ‘90s gay life, small city homosexual experiences, Southern biases, sexual exploration, romance, homophobia, bisexuality, and twisted-up young love. Oh, and a guaranteed happy ending for the main character by the end of Book 4.

This book, this book, this book...
This series, this series, this series...
Gimme, gimme, gimme...
I need more...

I have a confession, I like to gorge read series, which is great when I stumble across a complete series and can power read my way through them all in one sitting. Team this with my lack of willpower to dive into a great sounding book though and it doesn't work so well. I knew this was one of four. I read the warning that the HEA would come at the end of the fourth book - and still I dove in. Now I need the next book. Right NOW. 

Peter, Adam, Sarah... this book is full of emotionally and characteristically complex characters. There's none of that he's a good guy/he's a bad guy stuff. I think I loved and hated each of the MC's equally at times. Reading can be a bit like hindsight - it's easy to see where things are going wrong, where bad decisions are being made. It's also like living in the moment because you can see why choices were made, how they were made... you can see the justification of any given character at any time. Usually, even with the gift of knowing a craptastically bad idea when we see it from the readers POV, we understand the journey the character takes because they don't have the benefit of hindsight at that point. While I was angry and frustrated and pissed off with choices made and actions of the characters - Adam especially, but also Peter too - I also understood it.

I am a child/teen of the 80's/90's. I remember them well. It doesn't seem so long ago but things were different. Even more different in small town USA, I think. Things I take for granted now - mobile phones, the internet - weren't around. Attitudes were different, sometimes in a good way, but often not so much. This was truthfully reflected in the book. I don;t say it excuses the actions of the characters at times, but it does make them easier to understand.

I really need to read the the next book, to me  this felt more like part one of a story rather than book one in a series, and ideally I would have read them all in one binge sitting. But there, when it comes to books I am impatience personified!

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

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