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With or Without You

Review

With or Without You

Eighteen-year-old Evan Weiss paints on windows. Like most artists, he doubts his work and feels like a complete imposter. The truth is he's very good, in a copycat sort of way. He studies famous artists, carefully learning their strokes and strategies. He sees the balance in their work and envies them.

Evan has already come out to his family. He gathered all the courage he could muster and said the words. But they didn't believe him. Earth-shattering news like that should actually shatter the world. Sometimes, though, change is harder than that. So he retreats into hiding. After all, if the people closest to him won't accept who he is, he'll be himself in secret.

Which is why he doesn't tell anyone about his sexy boyfriend, Erik. That fated painting day at the volleyball courts is the best and scariest event of his life. Erik accepts him, is fascinated by him, believes in him, and even loves him. With Erik, he's found a place to belong --- and someone to belong with.

The only other person who comes close is Evan's best friend, Davis. He knows he's found something special when, even after they find out they'll never be boyfriends, the friendship is worth keeping. It's how they survived the constant ridicule and gay bashings at school, and how they make it all the way to Graduation Day.

With a summer of freedom ahead of them, they hear about a new movement called the Chasers. "Learn what it means to be gay! Stop being a doormat!" the handwritten flier dares. Evan has felt so powerless for so long and told too many lies for so long --- to his family, his boyfriend, his best friend --- that this sounds like the right opportunity at the perfect time.

He couldn't be more wrong.

It becomes dangerously clear that his worlds can't stay separate any longer. There can be no more lies, no more imitation. If he doesn't figure out who he wants to be, he might lose everything he loves --- including himself.

Brian Farrey's WITH OR WITHOUT YOU shows one of the grim realities of teenage life. No shying away from anything. No sacred cows. No pulled punches. Choices must be made between possibilities and consequences. Between truth and lies. Rumors and reality. And it is with the careful brushes of grit and grace that he paints a future that looks like hope. Imagine that.

Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens on May 24, 2011

With or Without You
by Brian Farrey

  • Publication Date: May 24, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • ISBN-10: 1442406992
  • ISBN-13: 9781442406995