Book Reviews

Saving Skylar Hand by George Seaton at MLR Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Alex on 07-February-2013

Book Blurb

Lifelong love of two boys growing up on the west-central Texas scrub, their lives entangled by the dynamic of families so starkly different.

Skylar Hand and Cody Pinnt share their lives upon the west-central Texas scrub. Both born to a cattle rancher's life, their view of the world and their place in it, takes one down a path toward heady dreams of a future away from the land. The other sees worth only in trudging his days, as his daddy has, upon the land; his dreams confined to what he has known his entire life. Their love is sorely tested by the choices they make.

Good thing it's the season for miracles.



Holiday 2012 Release #10

 

Book Review

I totally fell in love with this wonderfully paced, coming of age tale of two Texas boys struggling to find themselves and their place in the world. While it did take me about three pages to lose myself in its rambling narrative voice, once I did, I found the story extremely captivating, holding a wealth of charm that was both poignant and magical. This is an engaging story and George Seaton’s skill at the slow reveal is masterful. I daresay this will be one of my favorite reads of 2013.

Born on adjacent ranches, on the broad landscape of the Texas scrublands, it is only natural that Cody Pinnt and Skylar Hand, the two leads, become fast friends. Their friendship, revealed through entertaining passages of their yearly Christmas experience, show that Cody’s family and his “son of a cattle rancher” lifestyle are much more stable than that of Skylar.

Skylar’s father appears to do only the minimum amount of work required to enable his ranch, The Iron Hand, to still be called a working ranch. His word is law within the family and he has made it clear that Skylar is destined to follow in his footsteps. Not the brightest star at the local school that both boys attend, and finding little alternative there or in the nearby small town, Skylar goes along with his father’s plans. He even furthers them, envisioning expanding upon the ranch and building it into something that can truly be called a cattle ranch. As every young man must have a dream of their future, he grabs hold of his birthright, embraces it tightly and decides to quit high school.

Cody on the other hand, has the support of his parents who have come to an agreement: their son’s future does not demand he remain on the ranch. His mother has stowed funds for the furthering of his education since he was born; when the time comes, Cody is going to college. Despite his limited small town upbringing Cody realizes and comes to terms with his desire for Skylar and his subsequent “queerness” early in life. He also readily embraces the knowledge that there are better things than being a ranch hand. His only sorrow when viewing his future is his innate love and responsibility towards Skylar.

What will happen when he leaves for college and Skylar, who views their trysts as something he is only partaking in because of Cody, is left behind to the drudgery of working on a failing ranch? The journey to this answer is beautifully told through the eyes of the leads and the single ranch hand on The Iron Hand ranch, Pete, a crippled bull rider whose glory days are behind him.

George Seaton delivers the story in lovely snatches of active narrative that allow you to fully envision the personalities and appearances of all of the characters without resorting to linear “tell” passages. The countrified voice is stylish and quaint without going overboard (I don’t believe I read a single “Yes, ma’am”) and adds to the story immensely. While it does bring to your mind the charm of small time life and the leisurely pace of the sprawling countryside, this is a fast read that paints exquisite vignettes of the ranching lifestyle without excessive detail.

I loved Cody and Skylar, the chemistry between them is initially subtle, yet electric and rises to full-blown scorching as the story and the characters' mindsets become illuminated. The supporting cast is wonderful, with late to the story characters Zane and Christine serving as examples of the larger world beautifully. I found myself hoping that the author plans a sequel about Zane.

Thank you, George Seaton, for this exceptional, honest, and stimulating portrait of young males growing up in the Texas scrubs, I love it.

 

 

 

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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 42000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 14-December-2012
Price $5.99 ebook
Buy Link http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=GSSAVING