Book Reviews

Boy Banned by RJ Scott at Love Lane Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians / Disability / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 27-May-2016

Book Blurb

When the only way to win is to hide who you are, how far are you prepared to go?

Reuben “Angel” Jacobs is one step away from giving it all up. Losing a place in the live finals of Sing UK almost kills him. He has no choice but to go home and work for the family business, even though it means giving up his dreams and proving his old bullies right.

Corey Dixon is a rocker at heart. Being on the spectrum means that making sense of other people’s ‘normal’ is hard in itself, let alone in the chaos of a high-powered competition. Singing is his safe space, the only way he can think through the noise in his head. Messing up his audition for the live shows means his journey is over, and it’s the worst day of his life.

The judges throw them a lifeline and create a boy band from the near-miss hopefuls. Angel, Corey, and three others are put together in a room and offered the chance to sing as a group. Agreeing to become part of the new band means Corey has to hide who he is and what Angel has come to mean to him.

Is winning worth the price Corey and Angel have to pay?

Book Review

‘Boy Banned’ is a remarkable novel for many reasons. First in my mind are the characters, mainly Corey and Angel, but all the major and minor secondary characters as well. Second is the suspense in the plot, not just around who will win the competition, but all the psychology and interpersonal goings-on during the way there. Third, and this is a big one as well, RJ Scott has managed to capture the modern-day phenomenon of reality TV shows perfectly. The behind-the-scenes machinations, the artificial friendships and rivalries, the “surprises” and playing to expectations alike, it’s all scripted - yet everyone pretends it’s real. Or worse, they believe it’s real. And fourth, the essence of boy bands is captured in Wildcard, and watching how these five young men became a band, typical of boy bands or not, was both entertaining and fascinating.

Corey touched me deeply. He is on the autistic spectrum, and discovering his particular quirks and coping mechanisms was fascinating. His behavior makes perfect sense to him, indeed he is often the most logical of the five band members. But applying that logic to human emotions can lead to trouble. Corey knows this and he is careful when dealing with people who don’t know him, but even though singing is his safe space, where he feels balanced and secure, the added stress of the competition, then having to work with four other people once the band is formed, means trouble for his inner peace. Corey slowly discovers how Angel can help him stay focused, deal with stress, and explain the situations Corey finds troublesome. It is a revelation for him to find someone who “gets” him to this degree and I rejoiced with Corey.

Angel is very together, very controlled, but he has issues as well. He is gay, and years of withstanding his family’s bullying have helped him grow a thick skin, but he still wants to be loved. Angel is also very good at sensing what’s going on in the band and always knows what to do to cheer them up or motivate them. He becomes their leader pretty quickly and does a great job pulling a group of soloists with very different personalities into a cohesive group. From the very first he feels drawn to Corey, and when they slowly get to know each other, Angel is fascinated with what he discovers. He does his best to understand how Corey’s mind works, and how he can help.

The love that grows between them is amazing. Corey and Angel, are perfect together. They are very different, but when they work together, both of them become better men. The remaining three band members were hilarious, annoying, and supportive in turns – they made me laugh more often than roll my eyes, but they were always right there when needed. Brianna, the group’s so-called mentor was a total b*tch, and very convincing. She was all about “the big win” – for herself mind you, not so much Wildcard. Some of the stuff she pulled, the PR games she played made me gag – but she was incredibly realistic and entirely credible.

If you like intense stories with drama, suspense, and emotions all over the place, if two very different men finding a common way to move forward are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is entertaining, funny, suspenseful, and very romantic, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do.  It’s heartwarming and gives hope to everyone who feels they are different.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 58700 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-May-2016
Price $4.49 ebook
Buy Link