Author: Renae Kaye
Narrator: Dave Gillies
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 8 hours and 19 minutes
At a Glance: While You Are the Reason is a book two, this is a standalone and you need not have read the first book to completely enjoy this story. The narration is great, the story is complete, and the ending is perfect for all involved.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: Davo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays who are girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme – including relationships that last beyond 15 minutes.
Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub. That’s where he meets Lee, cute from her cherry-red hair to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed – but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy – he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.
Review: Davo is gay. He always has been, always will be, and doesn’t give a ra’ts rump how you feel about that. Davo isn’t frilly: he loves his sport and can be over-the-top manly. His parents have accepted that’s not going to change, and they encourage Davo to quit being a lad and find someone to settle with. So, when Davo is on the prowl and meets a “girl” named Lee, he gets thrown for a loop at their immediate attraction. Perhaps it’s the drinking. Perhaps it’s her forwardness. Or maybe it’s because she’s helping a trans person to be their true self in a public setting that Davo is drawn to a… girl.
Over the course of the book, Davo makes a few discoveries about himself. When his idol in life settles into a domestic situation that now involves a baby girl, Davo finds he can be just as domestic (with the help of his new love). He discovers that gender roles aren’t always black and white. And, he discovers that an open heart and honesty are things that can complete your life when you’re not so focused on “rules”, but open to all the possibilities the world has for you.
Once again, the fullness that Renae Kaye draws in her books give the narrator so much material to work with that it is a treat for the ears when Dave Gillies speaks them. The characters are so richly rendered by the narration that you don’t need name markers to know exactly who is speaking. That is a true skill that regular listeners of audiobooks will tell you makes them seek out certain narrators.
Because Kaye loves her characters, you forgive their occasional thickness. The rich settings she provides in her native Australia makes them as much a living part of her books as her characters. And any one of those characters has a backstory worthy of a book of their own.
With Gillies fine hand and talented voice, you can really appreciate a well-formed story that does not spare words, and leaves you fully satisfied by the end. As with Kaye’s multiple series, we get visits from men in her Western Aus universe. It’s lovely to see them come by and share updates with us. It is also more than grand that the narrator treats each character as their own person with their own vice.
Buy this book. While You Are the Reason is a book two, this is a standalone and you need not have read the first book to completely enjoy this story. The narration is great, the story is complete, and the ending is perfect for all involved.
You can buy You Are the Reason here: