Idaho Pride by Sarah Black
After an attempt to diffuse an explosive situation, Lee Hunter and Jeremy Sheridan end up taking the heat for the conflict and become friends. While researching a tragic local story for Jeremy’s magazine, Idaho Pride, Lee agrees to mentor Luis, a troubled young intern. But Jeremy has a problem of his own: a jealous ex-lover who threatens not only Jeremy and Lee’s new romance, but also the fledgling family they’re trying to create.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Idaho Pride peaked my interest after Val gave it such a strong positive review. The novella lives up to its hype as a good, solid story with interesting characters and a strong plot driven story. Yet the characterization is not sacrificed for this and the end result is a very appealing, engrossing, and well written story.
There is much more going on in the story than the brief blurb mentions. Lee and Jeremy seem like total opposites when they meet during a fight between their friends. Their mutual desire to keep everyone out of trouble lands them working together on weekends and they become friends. Magazine publisher Jeremy talks sports writer Lee into mentoring a troubled teen, Luis and this brings up a host of conflicts. From teen suicide to gay bashing, sex with minors, closeted orientation, and a small side plot about Jeremy’s ex, there is a lot that happens to these characters but in an understated, quiet manner.
The plot is driven by these various elements and they all work well. The characters and situations feel natural and easy without any forced manipulation. There are no real stumbles or distractions even with the number of things that happen. Lee’s mentoring of Luis is very vivid and interesting depicting Luis’ struggle with his sexuality, maturity, and trying to make a life for himself as an emancipated sixteen year old. Luis is such an interesting character he really deserves his own book. Additionally the small subplots with a local athlete and the police chief are interesting and add to the dimension and depth of the plot and various characters.
While the plot works well, I also don’t think all the issues thrown in are necessary. Jeremy’s ex is such a small part of the story and adds almost nothing. It seems to be added to increase the tension between Jeremy and Lee, prolonging their happy ending, but the story would have been almost exactly the same without the added ex. The undemanding pace helps but the great characters and well described setting to maintain reader interest throughout the quick novella.
The characters are well defined with Lee and Luis really stealing the show. Lee is a very likable guy with his sports obsessed, guy’s guy mentality. He doesn’t want to be called gay because he doesn’t like labels and fears the overly effeminate association with the title, which makes him falling for the quietly but obviously out Jeremy a fun twist. I like the character of Jeremy but he comes across a little too perfect and plastic. He wears a lot of pastel colors, has rose curtains, is movie star handsome, incredibly intelligent, and clearly too good for Idaho. His involvement is really peripheral, although his affection and cute factor with Lee is pretty high. I liked reading the two together whether they were just cuddling or having some pretty hot sex.
Overall this is a very enjoyable lighter read, even though it tackles some heavier subjects. The quick pace, good prose, and well-written story deliver an engaging and interesting novella. This is definitely one I’d recommend and hope that Luis gets his own story in the future.
Get it HERE!