Genre: LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary Romance,
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: June 16, 2014
Page Count: 192
Source: Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours
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Synopsis: Two boys at Bible camp; one forbidden love.
That is the dilemma sixteen-year-old Jonathan Cooper faces when he goes away to Spirit Lake Bible Camp, an oasis for teen believers situated along Minnesota’s rugged north shore. He is expecting a summer of mosquito bites, bonfires with s’mores, and photography classes with Simon, his favorite counselor, who always helps Jonathan see his life in perfect focus.
What he isn’t expecting is Ian McGuire, a new camper who openly argues against phrases like pray the gay away. Ian is certain of many things, including what could happen between them if only Jonathan could surrender to his feelings. Jonathan, however, tosses in a storm of indecision between his belief in God and his inability to stay away from Ian. When a real storm hits and Ian is lost in it, Jonathan is forced to make a public decision that changes his life.
About the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Blog
Minnesota writer Juliann Rich spent her childhood in search of the perfect climbing tree. The taller the better! A branch thirty feet off the ground was a good perch for a young girl to find herself. Seeking truth in nature and finding a unique point of view remain crucial elements in her life as well as her writing.
Juliann is a PFLAG mom who can be found walking Pride parades with her son. CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE is her debut novel and will be available on June 16th, 2014. The sequel, SEARCHING FOR GRACE, hits the shelves September 2014. Juliann lives with her husband and their two dogs, Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Ms. Bella Moriarty, in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley.
Juliann recently won the 2014 Emerging Writer Award at The Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans.
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Disclaimer: I received this book from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
My Initial Thoughts: I originally signed up for this blog tour because I saw the "LGBT Fiction" label on the genre section. At that time (and this time as well), I had eagerly signed up for any blog tours with that LGBT label because it was a newer genre of fiction I hadn't been interested in before. Now, after finishing this novel, I realize that it is not fair to stick just that LGBT Fiction label on Caught in the Crossfire because it is so much more than just that.
One of the most relatable aspects of the novel was the "Summer Camp" one because let's face it - I am a teenager that loves to go to summer camp and have had the odd fantasy of everybody singing when at summer camp since Camp Rock premiered on Disney Channel. However, one of the aspects of Caught in the Crossfire that I was most apprehensive about was the "Bible Camp" one. I don't want to be offensive, but in my personal experience, some religions can be a little too pushy and having a summer camp connected with a religion would just be another chance to infuse the youth of that camp with more information about whatever higher power that religion believed in. Anyway, all I knew then was - If this novel was written well, it would be one heck of a story.
What I would like to report back to you is that I am extremely glad that I read this novel, and those aspects that had enticed me into reading it and the aspect that made me apprehensive only increased my enjoyment. Caught in the Crossfire is really short, less than 200 pages, but the story that you get out of what can be considered such a short novel, is rich, stimulating, and at times even thought-provoking.
I do not mean to be prejudice, or whatever label you can stick on a person that judges a religion is, but I do know that the stereotype for a uber Christian faith is the fact that they are openly against homosexual people because God intended for it to be "Adam and Eve" not "Adam and Steve." As it happens with most stories of forbidden love - one of the people in that relationship is extremely outspoken and in Caught in the Crossfire's case, that outspoken person is Ian. As usual, the person -Jonathan- on the other end of that relationship has been taught a certain thing their whole life and then that person goes through some realization that it is okay to be different.
In order to realize that it is okay to be different, Jonathan has to make a lot of mistakes in order to learn. One of his mistakes is his reluctance to give into emotions (and just go with the flow) pertaining to Ian. After one of these mistakes Jonathan makes, he starts thinking, and even talks to one of his good friends who is outside of camp (a long story) about what God wants and what exactly it means to be a "Good Christian." Are gay people bad? But how could they be bad if God lovingly created them? All of those usual questions and more are mulled over by him. This is where the whole "Bible Camp" aspect really comes into play, and there are scenes where being gay is openly discussed and those are what really provide the ideas to be mulled over.
I will admit something - I loved Caught in the Crossfire. Yet, in the end, I did not love it because of that "LGBT Fiction" label. I loved it because of the culmination of all the elements that are present in a good story. A gay person does not love another gay person because that other person is gay. He/She loves that other person because of their personality, their intellect, their humor and everything else that made them.... them. Just like how I loved this novel because of the genre, the characters, the chain of events, the writing style and more.