Boys of Summer Edited by Steve Berman
"Walt Whitman referred to a "Mad, naked, Summer Night!" In the pages of Boys of Summer, acclaimed editor Steve Berman's latest anthology, talented authors and fresh voices reveal the allure and excitement of the season for gay teens. June always promises romance. July entices with its raw heat, and August offers a languid fire that will burn out before autumn's approach. These are stories of young love and adventure, when the sky's ceiling is a bright blue marvel, when another boy's laughter at the beach can distract from dull summer jobs."- summary from Goodreads
Alrighty, so I need to figure out how to do this. Reviewing short story anthologies is a bit hard. But I'm going to go ahead and talk about each story, at least a little bit. I took notes, but they're not complete (i.e. no character names in most of them).
Let's start off with the bad. Now, none of the stories were horrible or anything, but there were some that I didn't like as much. "Get Brenda Foxworthy" was one of them- the story was underdeveloped and there was really no romance. The guy that the main character likes is only in two scenes, taking up approximately 1 page of the 15 or so pages in the story. The story ends rather abruptly, basically once it gets to the interesting parts, and I thought the whole revenge aspect was just too much and then there was no real payoff with it.
Another one that did better, but wasn't the best, was "Cave Canem". It was a nice story and I liked the focus on the dogs and the animal shelter. It had an interesting setting as well as backstories for the characters. But it ended again when it was just getting good and there wasn't much in the romance department.
I guess that's about it. The rest of the stories were pretty good, though there were some that I enjoyed much more than others. "Summer's Last Stand" had an interesting look at gay bullying and I thought the meeting of the two boys was really cute. "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Swamp Thing" was very cute and I really liked how the relationship developed between Shane and Chase (this is the only story I wrote down the character names for).
"Breakwater in the Summer Dark" was a good story to read after the previous two (Brenda and Cave Canem) because the main characters had a better chemistry together and the subplot was good and developed. "Wheat, Barley..." was pretty weird due to the strange dreams the main character has and the whole story didn't seem to go anywhere with that. But it was interesting and very cute, plus it was pretty steamy. It was probably the steamiest out of all the stories.
Now, on to the best stories of the anthology! "Brass" was my absolute favorite because it was EXACTLY what I was expecting to get throughout the whole anthology. It was way too short though, but it featured the boys meeting up and then developing their relationship a bit before the story ended. A lot of these stories seemed to just be content ending when the main character realizes they like this guy (some ended with like a hand on the knee or joining hands or maybe a kiss, but I wanted more!).
Alright, I'm gonna wrap this up because I've been rambling too long. "Most Likely" was completely adorable and very funny. "Bark If You Like Boys" had a cute, layered romance and I loved it. Finally, "Leap" was an awesome story and there was great chemistry between the lovers and it was adorable seeing them grow closer as the story went on.
Overall, it is a pretty good anthology and I would recommend it, especially as the summer days wind down. Hold on to the prospect of summer romance!
FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley and physical copy from Steve Berman (when my e-galley expired). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.