Title: A Hard Day’s Night
Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: CoolDudes/YoungDudes Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 114 Pages
At a Glance: A Hard Day’s Night had the promise of delivering but, unfortunately, fell a bit short for me.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: High school senior Kalin (Lennon) Macready knows several facts for certain: John Lennon is his hero. Beaumont Finley Danforth (Fin) is his best friend. And—this is the complicated one—he feels more for Fin than mere friendship.
For weeks, Lennon pesters Fin, who like Lennon admits to questioning his sexual orientation, for a commitment to spend twenty-four hours together exploring “the gay side of life.” Each boy will seek to answer the terrifying question, Am I gay? Fin reluctantly agrees. Lennon pre-plans the day, filling the hours with what he assumes “gay life” is all about: funky hairstyles, fancy coffee drinks, shopping for fashionable clothing, boogying to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and yes, listening to show tunes.
However, Lennon quickly realizes that in creating his plan he has succumbed to the most common and distorted gay stereotypes. Can he be gay and not fit them? And more importantly, is it possible that spending twenty-four hours together will convince Fin that he’s gay, too? If so, maybe Lennon has a shot at winning the heart of the boy of his dreams.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is a humorous young adult contemporary romance about two boys coming to realize that they don’t have to be a stereotype to be genuine.
Review: I tend to love young adult books where two friends discover their sexuality and each other. Those types of stories carry a sweet innocence to them and are utterly romantic. A Hard Day’s Night had the promise of delivering on this but, unfortunately, fell a bit short for me.
In fairness, the idea of basing a story off the Beatles songs is clever, and there’s certainly ample material for the author to choose from. The characters had the same yearning and fear that go along with high school crushes and worrying about what others think, which made the story, as a whole, heart-warming and sweet.
What didn’t work for me was the concept that drove the whole book. The author began the book with a premise that Lennon would construct a 24-hour gay day for himself and his BFF, Fin, so they could figure out once and for all if they are truly gay. Each activity tapped into what is perceived as a stereotypical gay activity, such as getting their hair done, ears pierced, using guyliner, taking a zoomba classes, and getting cutesy Disney t-shirts. While all of these events are described in a campy, tongue-and-cheek manner, as I’m sure the author intended it to be, it was difficult for me to get past the reality that being gay isn’t something people figure out by doing all things gay over a 24-hour period, nor are gay people stereotypes.
Add to that the speed with which Fin comes out to himself, then to Lenny, and it seemed a bit far-fetched and was difficult to believe. While suspending belief is certainly a part of reading romance, there has to be reasonable elements of reality in order to sustain a contemporary, non sci-fi or paranormal story.
To be fair, the author drives home the point that being gay isn’t a stereotype in her epilogue, but by then, I’d already questioned the framework of the story. For me, had more time been devoted to the subtle hints of two boys who were beginning to discover their sexual attraction, rather than conducting an experiment, I would have enjoyed the story a lot more.
You can buy A Hard Day’s Night here: