High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.
Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.
As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.
But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?
Book – A Good Enough Reason
Author – C.M. Lievens
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 200
Cover – So Cute!
POV – 3rd person, past tense, dual POV
Would I read it again – Yes! In a heartbeat!
Genre – Young Adult (for the characters ages and experiences), Contemporary, High School, 18+ (for the explicit content)
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine
*Though I’d never want to spoil this book for readers, there are topics I have to discuss – *cough* praise – so THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD*
Trigger Warnings: rape attempt, bullying, stalking, coming out
WOW! I’m in love with this book. Totally, helplessly, madly in love.
Hallelujah! My book slump is over, thanks to this incredible, witty, lovely book. It’s been a while since I’ve started a book and become so excited about where the plot might go, what might happen to the characters and literally begging for a happy ending.
I’ll admit, I’ve missed the YA genre so much. This one is a perfect example of why – awkward teenagers, high school situations that send me back to being 16-18 years old, coming out problems and the whole jock vs geek dilemma. There wasn’t anything in this that I wanted and didn’t get.
I loved everything about this book. The characterization was incredible, the plot frighteningly believable and the tough subjects – bullying, coming out, attempted rape, stalking, dealing with being secretly gay/bisexual – were all handled with such tact, sensitivity and realism that I felt like I became a 18 year old again, for a few hours. I felt like I was back in high school, reliving all the awkward moments, while rooting for a gay best friend to finally get their happily ever after.
First off, let me just say that Lievens had me at the Platform 9 ¾ t-shirt! I was probably partly sold by that point, but that hooked me and made sure I couldn’t let go.
Dale is so right when he says that Ellis feisty. He’s funny, smart and a total geek – everything I love in a main character. At the same time, Dale is witty, strong and dependable. They had such chemistry together that I never once doubted why they were the main couple of the book or if they should be together.
As for the second characters, I loved them ALL – Ellis’ mum and dad, Dale’s parents (though his mum even less), Connor, Damian and especially Matt and Seth. I didn’t take too well to Anna; she’s a bit too flaky for my liking and she didn’t take it seriously when Ellis was hurt by the bullying – though I give her props for being the first and only person to suggest reporting it. I also didn’t like the emphasis that everyone put on Ellis finding a boyfriend, but that’s just a personal preference thing, since he kept saying he didn’t want one and no one was listening.
When it comes to emotions, this was a rollercoaster for me. I’m so glad that I decided to read it while along in the house, because I laughed out loud, cried and did those ridiculous snorting-while-trying-not-to-laugh-too-loud noises.
My favourite moments were:
For laughter – when both dads did the “birds and the bees” talk; any phone call with Matt; and most scenes with Seth.
For tears – the talk between Connor and Ellis, for sure; the first and second bathroom scenes between Ellis and Mark; both coming out scenes; when a teacher blatantly ignores Mark bullying Ellis and he’s all alone.
I can’t say much more than that without giving it all away.
Now, I have to talk about some of the tougher subjects in detail. The way Lievens tackled the issue of bullying is second to none, in my opinion. I’ve never read a more realistic and heartbreaking portrayal of just how hard it can be and how dangerous – especially in a young adult novel!
It was so sad to see how hard Ellis tried to be strong, throughout the entire book, even when he’s hurting and the teachers just ignore the bullying that is going on so blatantly in front of them. It’s so horribly real. The way he thinks about it, trying to stay under the radar, to keep his distance and not let it affect him, is so adorable but also so devastating at the same time. Yes, he’s trying to protect himself, but it’s not going to make it stop, either.
The best way she described the dangers and fear of bullying is in this quote and I can only say Thank You for it, because it really is the basis of everything that a person thinks when they’re being bullied.
“Mark wasn’t doing anything. He didn’t even talk to Ellis now, but it didn’t mean Ellis didn’t feel threatened.”
If anything, this book shows your the terrifying truth of how quickly and easily bullying can escalate when it goes unreported. Though Ellis’ fear is totally understandable, it’s also frightening to think of what could have happened if he’d stayed silent any longer.
And can I just say add another thank you to the author for portraying a positive gay teacher as a role-model. It’s so good to see that Ellis has someone he can turn to, but also someone providing a positive outlook on the future.
“Yeah, I never had a good enough reason to do it, but now, well. You are.” ← This. So many times THIS!! Learning the meaning of the title just made me love it all the more.
This book will be going in my Forever Favourites pile and I will now be eager to gobble up anything Lievens puts into print. I want it all!
Lastly, I really loved Seth and Matt. I’m totally shipping them as Sett all the way (because Meth or Math are just too weird!). They’re the perfect GFY couple, though I’m still very firmly on Team Dallas. So…can there be a sequel? Can we see Matt getting his HEA? With Seth, please? PLEASE??? Make my dreams come true…
I had a few, so just feel lucky I’m not writing out the entire book.
“Sexy senior needs gay date for prom. Date has to be reasonably cute and able to keep up a conversation on books. Only serious offers.”
“I thought I’d meet some hot cowboy when I moved here, but they’re all so painfully straight.”
“Besides, Harry Potter is as good a basis for friendship as anything, if not better.”
““Once it became obvious you’d bring home a bee someday.”
Ellis frowned. “A bee?”
“You know, the birds and bees thing.””
“Ellis could think of very few other things that could mortify him as much as having to watch his dad put a condom on a banana.”