Pub. Date: November 20, 2017
I was sent an advanced reader’s e-copy of this novel via the publicist at Inkitt. All opinions are honest and my own.
Loving Lakyn comes with a list of trigger warnings. The author provides the list on her website, please view before going into it! I will also touch on the hard topics in this review.
This is a prequel to Charlotte Reagan’s debut novel, Just Juliet. This can be read as a standalone.
Lakyn has been through many hardships in his young life from childhood to sixteen (present). The story opens up with the night Lakyn tries to commit suicide. There are many suicidal thoughts, and various vivid scenes where Lakyn is cutting parts of his body with razors. Please be aware that this can be very triggering. The reader jumps into Lakyn’s past and present relatively quickly. Memories of child abuse occur, another trigger warning because the memories are graphic and occur throughout the novel.
Lakyn has always had a close bond with his Aunt Lily and Uncle Ben, I loved seeing the relationship between Uncle Ben and Lakyn. Uncle Ben was one of my favorite characters because he is an excellent father role and helps Lakyn get the help he needs. He never pities him or treats him any different due to his past and suicide attempt. Uncle Ben treats him as his own son. In this relationship, the adoption process is focused on.
Despite his depression and suicidal thoughts, Lakyn is also gay. He has support around him from his cousins Juliet and Rick, as well as Uncle Ben. However, we do see homophobia among his peers leading to Lakyn defending himself. Lakyn stirs up a romance with a fellow classmate who happens to be a football player. I really enjoyed this romance for many reasons. First, we see the “secret relationship” cliche. I liked the way this played out because we get to see two different perspectives of gay males in high school; one in the closet and one who is completely out. We also get to see how well these two characters balance each other out and the love they produce for each other.
However, one critique I have is that this novel had one too many sex scenes. I would have been okay with at least one or two at most. It just seemed to me that every time they met up they just spent their time together having sex.
I really liked the realistic aspect of being gay in high school. It doesn’t always come with happiness and acceptance, which we see in this novel. There is also an encounter of homophobic parents. There were so many angles of coming out and I loved the way it was incorporated.
Lakyn also attends therapy sessions and I loved that we see Lakyn changing therapists. I feel as if YA doesn’t always do the job of portraying starting therapy realistically. Most teens go through more than one therapist to match their fit. Getting to see Lakyn move onto another therapist (who was a better fit) was great to see! Also, there are many scenes of him going to therapy and lots of dialogue with his therapist. This helped for character development.
Character development was excellent in this novel. We start with Lakyn trying to end his life and the misery he is going through throughout the novel. His secret boyfriend doesn’t cure him, he experiments with drugs to make the pain go away. Lakyn’s outcome at the end of this novel had me smiling and I really saw how much he developed in such a short amount of time.
This novel was very realistic and I enjoyed it so much. Lakyn is a real and very raw character. You may be taken back by his thoughts and actions, as I did. Honestly, I thought this novel was going to be too triggering for me. Some of Lakyn’s deep and dark thoughts resonated with me and this novel helped me see how far he comes. I hope you enjoy him as much as I did.
Pre-order the novel! Charlotte is donating $1 from every copy sold to The Trevor Project – the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24. Every $1 = 1 more minute on their crisis phone, chat, and text lines.
The book releases 11/20. Click here to get a FREE ebook on release day.