Title: You Are Not Me (90s Coming of Age: Book Two)
Author: Leta Blake
Length: 328 Pages
Category: New Adult
At a Glance: Seriously…Reeeeaaad theeeese boooooks. You’ll thank me for recommending them. After you’re done being mad at me, of course. They’re so good!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Follow Peter into the summer following his senior year to face new beginnings, new friends, and old baggage.
After a tumultuous final year of high school, Peter Mandel needs a break. It’s the summer of 1991, and his secret relationship with his ‘best friend’ Adam Algedi is put on hold as Adam goes away to Italy for the summer. On the cusp of adulthood, Peter has a couple of months to explore who he is without Adam at his side.
Enter Daniel McPeak, a slightly older, out, responsible college guy with a posse of gay friends and an attraction for Peter. Drawn into the brave new world of the local gay club, Peter embarks on a whirlwind of experiences—good and bad—which culminate in a hotel room where he has to make the ultimate choice.
But Adam will come back eventually, and there are promises that have to be kept. As autumn draws near and college awaits, can Peter break free of the binds of twisted first love? And what exactly is Daniel’s role in his life – a brief temptation, or something more?
Join Peter in the second book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.
Review: You Are Not Me picks up right where Pictures of You left us. Adam has gone to Italy for the summer, and Peter is back in Knoxville, trying to figure out how to spend his summer. It’s his last summer of freedom before starting at UT in the fall. But, really, it’s a summer free from Adam and the pressures of their relationship. A summer free from lying about who he is, and what he and Adam are–or aren’t–to each other. An opportunity to find himself.
It’s also an opportunity to make new friends and hang out with new people, which Peter does at the suggestion of Robert/Renee. Though his first outing to Tilt-a-Whirl is a humiliating near disaster, in which he basically gets roofied, Peter eventually finds his footing and begins hanging out with a new crowd. A crowd that also includes Daniel McPeak. Yep, the same Daniel who Peter has had a crush on since meeting him at Robert’s house.
Let me just state emphatically right now that I am one million percent Team Daniel. I don’t know how anyone could not be after reading this book. Daniel is kind, smart, loyal, trustworthy, responsible, sexy as hell, and maybe most importantly, EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE. What?? *blinks innocently* I wasn’t taking a pot shot at Adam. Ok… Yeah, I was. Sorry, not sorry. Adam deserves every dig he gets. Team Daniel, remember? Adam is still the manipulative dickhead we met in Pictures of You, and, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve any of the faith that Peter puts in him. Unfortunately, Peter is still holding out hope that things really will be different between he and Adam in the fall, and spends basically the entire book trying to put his feelings for Daniel on hold.
There were a lot of things I loved about this book, not the least of which being that it hurt a lot less than the first one. And, most of which having to do with Peter’s relationships with everyone besides Adam. He gives his parents, particularly his mother, a second chance at becoming close to him again; he opens himself up to new friendships; and, his bond with Robert and Barry becomes even stronger. I love how Robert and Barry love him and look out for him, each with their own brand of counseling.
This part slayed…
“…But what I want to know is this–have you learned your lesson, Peter?”
“Yes,” I whispered.
“And that lesson is what?”
“Don’t do drugs.”
“Are you sure it’s not ‘anonymous blow jobs while high on unknown substances are awesome’?” Barry asked.
Everything about them is completely fantastic.
I also loved the storyline involving Bobby, the PWA (person with AIDS) for whom Daniel is a caretaker. Daniel does this through a volunteer program he wants to get Peter involved in, and it is such an important part of the story that is so rich and well-written. Good, good stuff.
Leta Blake is killing me with this series, man. Killing me. I’ll tell you what, though…Coming of Age is the PERFECT title for Peter’s story arc in the series so far. In You Are Not Me we literally see Peter growing up; hitting so many highs and lows and making all the mistakes someone his age makes. I don’t know about you guys, but when I was nineteen I was at the clubs with my fake ID, drinking too much and trying not to do things I knew I’d regret later; I so understood Peter’s emotional rollercoaster at so many points in the story. BUT, I also wanted to just shake him so many times! Shake him and yell at him. And then hug him. Because he’s Peter. Haha. Read the books. You’ll understand. 😉 But, seriously…Reeeeaaad theeeese boooooks. You’ll thank me for recommending them. After you’re done being mad at me, of course. They’re so good!
You can buy You Are Not Me here: