When Love Comes to Town
Neil has amazing friends, outstanding grades and is super popular. But there is one thing that he can’t tell anyone. He’s gay. Neil feels isolated and inferior. He just wants someone to talk to. He finally decides to tell his best friend Becky. Her reaction is unexpected but relieving. Becky makes him feel like he’s not as alone as he may think he is.
"Throughout the book, Lennon introduces new characters and obstacles that keep the reader wondering. He does a good job of portraying infatuation, heartbreak and loneliness."
Neil becomes head-over-heels for Ian, a gorgeous kid who is only a year behind Neil. Neil has a strong feeling that Ian is gay, too and becomes filled with hope that they will be together. However, when Neil finally agrees to go to the gay bar downtown, he sees Shane. He starts to forget about Ian and focuses more on his new friends and new possible love interests.
With all the excitement of graduation, and all the confusing thoughts darting around his head, Neil struggles with whether or not to tell his family. He constantly wishes he could and that his dad would call him “Mr. Happy” one more time, but the possibility that his parents would not accept him hangs over him like a dark storm cloud.
Taking place in Ireland in 1990, WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN is a unique display of emotions. Neil goes through so much internal trauma and so many decisions. He feels self-conscious and is constantly imaging horrifying scenarios of being accidentally outed or no longer accepted. It was heart-breaking to realize that Neil couldn’t be who he was because of the ignorant people surrounding him. The isolation Tom Lennon writes about feels incredibly genuine. Throughout the book, Lennon introduces new characters and obstacles that keep the reader wondering. He does a good job of portraying infatuation, heartbreak and loneliness.
Neil’s story is intriguing and had me wondering, “When will love come to my town?”
Reviewed by Sally T. on April 10, 2013