Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 10, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
Logan Vanderveer has a joke he’s been telling since college: he’s ninety-five percent straight. He did some experimenting in school, but none of the men he fooled around with inspired him to abandon “the plan”: meet a nice girl, get married, and settle down, just like his parents always said.
None of them except Ellis Floyd, who aroused desires and feelings that scared Logan. So much so that he abandoned their burgeoning relationship just as it might have become something. But four years later, Ellis is back, and Logan finds himself questioning his sexuality in a big way.
Ellis doesn’t fit into Logan’s plan. He’s happy being a starving artist, whereas Logan has sold his soul to corporate America. Ellis is ripped jeans, and Logan is tailored suits. And, most notably, Ellis is out. But seeing him again is dredging up memories—like how it feels to kiss Ellis, and that time they almost went all the way. With chemistry like theirs, Logan isn’t sure he can—or should—keep ignoring the other five percent.
SEXUALITY: homosexual, bisexual
TROPES: first love, out for you, gay for you
TAGS: contemporary, adult, coming out, sibling relationship
WARNINGS: biphobia, homophobia, gaslighting, classism, cissexism, misogyny
Alrighty…let’s just dive right in, shall we? This book is a mess from the first page.
The book starts out with Logan, the main character, whining for approximately 10 pages about how the people in front of him are taking sooooo long to order their coffee, and in fact, ends up snapping at one of them when the person is asking the barista questions. He doesn’t get a whole lot better from there. Honestly, the only interesting thing about him is how much he cares for his sisters and values their opinions and advice. If it wasn’t for his blatant, rampant biphobia, Logan would be merely a bland, annoying character to read about. (Also, there’s a brief moment where he mocks Ellis for asking for consent to kiss him, so basically he’s just a douche.)
Ellis is similarly bland and unlikeable. The author very clearly tried to make him into the hipster artist, content to live his life however he wants, but he just came off as a cliche. One who runs so hot and cold it’s ridiculous. In one scene, when the two of them are at a club together, they’re literally grinding on each other on the dance floor and Ellis just got finished asking if Logan still finds him attractive, and then he rages when Logan tries to kiss him. I fully understand him not wanting to be kissed by a guy who identifies as straight, but he spends pretty much the whole book badgering Logan about accepting his bisexuality and admitting he finds men, particularly Ellis, attractive. And then he freaks out when Logan is finally willing to admit it and show it? It was really confusing for both Logan and myself as a reader. The only good thing about Ellis was that he called out Logan’s classism and biphobia a couple times.
Which brings me, finally, to the biphobia. I was expecting it after seeing the title and blurb, and it’s the reason why I requested the book on NetGalley, but wow. It did not just run rampant, it participated in a 20k race, beat everyone else, and barely broke a sweat. Logan frequently refers to bisexuality as experimentation and a fad and as being “hormonal and confused.” He calls his attraction to Ellis “the gay thing” and Ellis himself “the living embodiment of his one foray into gaydom.” Also, because every other encounter with guys, other than Ellis, happened while he was drunk, he’s apparently not really queer. From the beginning, he “jokes” about being “ninety-five percent straight,” hence the title, and in the end, when he finally accepts he’s interested in men, he calls himself “formerly straight.” Despite the fact that he knows other identities exist, he constantly polarizes his attraction as being straight or gay, which is incredibly offensive to me as a bisexual person. We are neither straight nor gay, we’re bi.
I’m fully aware that the novel was trying to show us a character who is deeply in the closet, but this is still extremely unacceptable. Even though it is not my preference to read about characters this deeply in the closet, I could’ve accepted that and potentially been interested in the story if it wasn’t for the fact that it is completely offensive down to it’s very core.
Aside from the offensive content, this story was not fleshed out nearly enough. A novella is way too short of a format for the subject matter this story was trying to tackle. The character “growth” was way too quick and unbelievable–you expect me to believe that a man who was so deeply in the closet for the first ¾+ of this book is suddenly 100% okay with being queer and is desperate for a dick in his ass?–and there was really no sense of the characters truly fitting together. The last chapter was cute, and was in fact the best part of the story, but it wasn’t enough to make everything that came before completely plausible or something I, as a reader, would be willing to accept. This book would have benefited from a longer format (as well as some fundamental rewrites).
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.
A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Sherlock, Harry Potter, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Buffy, Marvel, and more. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere.
Her favorite television show is Avatar: the Last Airbender, her favorite film is Tangled, and her favorite book is Ella Enchanted. She can often be spotted at conventions, comic shops, and midnight book releases. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her. Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending too much time on the internet, screwing the rules, finding the Master Sword, guided falling, consulting for the NYPD, guarding the galaxy, boldly going, and catching ’em all.
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With this review, I also wanted to include a few links to related posts.
- My post from a few months ago, explaining why the title and blurb are biphobic.
- A review from Ren at Angry Elves
- A review from Tasha at Cats and Paperbacks
- A review from Anna at Just Love, a bi person who enjoyed the story