I’ll happily admit that I have my collection of books that I categories as “guilty pleasures.” These are books that anyone of respectable taste and breeding should probably dislike, but there is some quality about them that makes them appealing and fun to read. They range from simple gay romance to those that have that added genre twist to them, ranging from science fiction to paranormal. Am I actually proud of the fact that I have these books and enjoy reading them? Not entirely. I do admit to finding it somewhat embarrassing, nevertheless they are there. Then there is something that comes along that completely redefines everything I have ever known when it comes to guilty pleasures. This is the first part of a series of books, and it is titled Boystown: Season One.
To describe the plot of this practically an impossible task, so I shall give the briefest of summaries. Derek is a married man in love with a gay man named Cole. Derek has a gay brother named Emmett who is in his own relationship with Keith, but has deeply buried feelings for his best friend Max, who is also in a relationship with a young company executive named Logan, who has an attraction for a new hire named Jesse at the same company, who happens to be the roommate/best friend of Cole, the man that Derek is in love with, and here we have our full circle. There are other characters involved who are of the same quality of character, but it is these men that I have listed in where over 90% of the story revolves around.
I happen to love books with interesting characters. Having said that, to call these characters in Boystown interesting is far too generous. They are quite shallow, quick to judge, and they have the morals of hamsters. However, this appears to be a result of how this book is written. Quite simply, Boystown: Season One is nothing more than an extremely tawdry gay soap opera. Imagine taking all of the trashy elements of prime-time soap operas Dallas and Dynasty combined, and then add the pacing of a daytime soap opera like Days Of Our Lives and you have Boystown. Each book is a season, and each chapter is labeled as an Episode. This book is deliberately constructed to read like a trashy soap opera, and unfortunately that means the characters end up being written in both an accelerated, and abbreviated, manner. In order to advance their storylines there are shortcuts that are taken, which sadly makes some of their motivations questionable if not outright inconsistent. Had this been a major novel in excess of 700 pages then perhaps enough development could be given to these players to make their actions and reactions both genuine and believable. Nevertheless that isn’t the case here. All I can say is that there were moments where my jaw would just drop in utter dismay at some of what they do, while other moments saw me laughing in sheer disbelief. As I said, think of this as a trashy soap opera where not one single character is entirely redeemable.
I could not put this book down. The very element that serves to dismiss any proper character development is the same that also creates an incredibly fast moving plot. It also jumps from scene to scene, character to character, much like a soap opera. However the real “charm” of this book is seeing how bad everything is turning out for these characters, much of which is due to their own bad behavior and choices. From jealousy, to ugly breakups, to completely inappropriate seductions, and even kidnapping and murder, this book has it all. As I was reading it I found myself completely compelled to continue on, despite all of the negative qualities these characters possessed, simply because I just had to see for myself how much worse everything would become, as if a train had not only derailed, but was falling in slow motion down an incredibly deep canyon. I simply could not stop reading this book.
Boystown: Season One is the first volume in an entire series, with each following book receiving subsequent season numbers. Currently there are 8 seasons, and author Jake Biondi is currently getting ready to release season 9. It’s a book for mature readers as it does have scenes of sexual relations, and while they are not written in an explicit manner, some of the details are most definitely not for a younger audience.
Guilty pleasure? No, Boystown: Season One is much more than that. For a cast of characters who have practically no moral compass, and for continually reading about them in situations that are at best questionable, and at worst downright saucy, I can only think of this book in one way… Boystown: Season One is a Shameless Pleasure!