Book Reviews

String Boys by Amy Lane at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / New Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 31-May-2019

Book Blurb

Seth Arnold learned at an early age that two things in life could make his soul soar—his violin and Kelly Cruz. In Seth’s uncertain childhood, the kindness of the Cruz family, especially Kelly and his brother, Matty, gave Seth the stability to make his violin sing with the purest sound and opened a world of possibility beyond his home in Sacramento.


Kelly Cruz has loved Seth forever, but he knows Seth’s talents shouldn’t be hidden, not when the world is waiting. Encouraging Seth to follow his music might break Kelly’s heart, but he is determined to see the violin set Seth’s soul free. When their world is devastated by a violent sexual assault and Matty’s prejudices turn him from a brother to an enemy, Seth and Kelly’s future becomes uncertain.


Seth can’t come home and Kelly can’t leave, but they are held together by a love that they clutch with both hands.


Seth and Kelly are young and the world is wide—the only thing they know for certain is they’ll follow their heartstrings to each other’s arms whenever time and fate allow. And pray that one day they can follow that string to forever… before it slices their hearts in two.


Book Review

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

It gets more and more difficult to review Amy Lane’s books because it seems as if each drama-filled, angst-ridden one rips my heart apart, and then puts it back together in a whole new way. The difficulty lies in not repeating my words of praise, of enthusiasm, and my love of her written words. In ‘String Boys’ the author weaves a tale of boys and young men, of hope and loss, of disappointment, sadness, joy, love, and the pain of growing up. It’s the story of more than two young men falling in love. It’s the story of life in all of its beauty, ugliness, and potential.

“Kelly had always said Seth was meant to walk among the stars… but that had only seemed possible when Kelly was there.” ~ Seth Arnold

Kelly always refers to Seth as his “dreamy boy” and it’s probably the most apt description for him. You know how some people dance to the beat of their own drum? Well, Seth’s is a violin and it’s not a beat, it’s a pure tone that hangs in the air and brings tears to your eyes. Seth’s mother was killed in a car accident when he was young and he and his father had a bad year when his dad liked the bottle and his fists more than his son. But the Cruzs helped get Craig into rehab and meetings, and slowly dad and son got back to where they’d been. But that time made an indelible impression on Seth and he learned that if he didn’t draw attention to himself then he was safe. He was in fourth grade when he found his muse and it wasn’t long before everyone knew Seth was going to go far with his talent.

“But Seth was crying again, and so was Kelly, and they didn’t have words. It would take them years before they found words again. This moment right here, Seth holding Kelly’s hand around the little comfort object, them rubbing their salty cheeks together, crying, would be one big howl in their chests for long goddamned years.”

Kelly is wiser than his age and has loved Seth for as long as he can remember – even before Kelly knew he was gay. Life in the Cruz household is idyllic, at least once his daddy goes to rehab and gets himself on the straight and narrow. They don’t have much but they have each other, laughter, and love. Until they don’t. Until Matty, his older brother, falls for a girl with a fundamentalist preacher for a father and a love of a religion that doesn’t tolerate difference. Until something unthinkable happens to Kelly and his foundation is rocked. Until Matty and his wife become addicts and bring a baby girl into the world who spent too much time with drugs in the womb. Until Kelly’s dad is killed and all the hopes and dreams that Kelly and Seth had for their future life together are dashed because Kelly needs to stay at home to help his mom with bills and his little sisters. Until the realities of life smash through the world Kelly had hoped to have with Seth.

“Even the dream of you is better than no you at all.” ~ Kelly Cruz

‘String Boys’ is more than I had hoped it could be. Seth and Kelly get their happy ever after but not before they endure all the levels of Dante’s Inferno. That’s all I’m going to say other than I loved it and it’s worth every single stab of pain I suffered through with them.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 341 pages/123221 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-May-2019
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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