Title: Misplaced Affection
Author: Wade Kelly
Pages/Word Count: 380 Pages
At a Glance: I felt there were too many balls in the air in this plot.
Reviewed By: Kathie
Blurb: Clichés are overrated and loving the boy next door may not be as genuine as the love Flynn sacrifices along the way.
Knowing he’s gay and acting on it were two separate notions to Flynn Brewer until he’d met Keith, his first boyfriend, in high school. Before then, being gay wasn’t as real as the pain of living day-to-day. Flynn’s fear of coming out to his religious best friend Zach in their conservative community destroyed his relationship with Keith, but Flynn rationalized his avoidance and bottled up the truth until it was regrettably too late.
Zachary Mitchell was the perfect son and role model as far as the outside world could tell. Active in his church while attending college, Zach had a personality that could sell anything, do anything, or be anything. Except, he couldn’t sell the truth to himself. Just when he was ready to reveal his internal conflict to Flynn and expose the darkness lurking in his heart, and in his “perfect” family, Zach met a girl and got sucked deeper into his chasm of deception.
Caught in a living Newton’s Cradle of his own design, Flynn must choose between idealistic childhood fantasy, or a tempestuous passion that could ignite the very air he breathes.
Review: I really struggled with this book and review. On the one hand I am a big fan of Wade Kelly and have enjoyed many of her books and audiobooks. On the other hand, I was taken aback by how much religion played a role in this book. Just for my obsessive-compulsive tendency, I counted how many times the words God, church, and religious/religion were used in Misplaced Affection. God, as a proper noun, and god, as in “oh my god,” were mentioned at least 140 times; the word religion, or a variation of it, 31 times; and church, 73 times. I admit I have not been comfortable in a church lately, mostly due to the religious fanatics who feel they have a right to judge my family and not allow my son the right to marry if he makes that choice. Coming from that place, it was hard to lay aside my beliefs and review the book on the merits of the writing and character development alone.
Wade Kelly tells us this story from the point-of-view of the three main characters, each having his own voice to tell his side. We first hear from Flynn and how he’s coping with being seventeen, having his first boyfriend, and watching his closest friend pull away from him. To make life a little more crazy, he is also working through the grief of losing his mother and brother in a car accident.
Zack was the hardest character for me to read. Zack is in the center of the circle, so to speak, and is the center of the book. He lives with an abusive parent who justifies his abuse and control with religion. Zack struggles with his identity and because of this, and many other struggles, his parents take advantage of those weaknesses, controlling Zack’s every move.
Keith, who brings up the rear, is the most balanced of the three characters. He has a good family that supports him, but Keith’s biggest problem is he is in love with Flynn. And not only does he want a sexual relationship with Flynn, which Flynn is all for, but he wants Flynn to come out, and that means more than just to his dad.
There is a lot to Misplaced Affection: coming out to family, times two; trips to the desert, almost weddings, and many trips to the hospital. I felt there were too many balls in the air in this plot, and they start falling one by one until finally, all that’s left are three—Flynn, Zack, and Keith. The question is, who ends up with whom, and is there a happy ending?
I liked the characters in Misplaced Affection, the families, and their friends–they all played a role in shaping the story. My only wish as I was reading this book was for fewer mentions of God, religion, and church. It would have tightened up a story that was already really long.
You can buy Misplaced Affection here: