Book Reviews

The Battle for Jericho by Gene Gant at Harmony Ink Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Young Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 11-February-2013

Book Blurb

A battle is brewing in the conservative little town of Webster’s Glen. Gay activist Dylan Cussler stirs up the establishment when he moves in with his boyfriend and sues the state over its gay adoption ban. Sixteen-year-old Jericho Jiles and his best friend, Mac Travis, decide to do their bit to convince Dylan and his boyfriend to leave town. But when Dylan turns up before they can finish trashing his house, Jericho panics, leaving Dylan unconscious and wounded.

Drowning in guilt, Jericho returns to Dylan’s home to make amends. He is surprised when Dylan forgives him and opens his eyes to the world around him. Soon Jericho comes to a life-changing realization: he is attracted to boys as well as girls. That’s a problem, considering Jericho has a girlfriend and very strict, very religious parents. Accepting his sexuality means he must question not only his identity and his place in the world but his relationship with his girlfriend, his parents, and with God.

And so begins the battle for Jericho’s soul.

Book Review

Coming to terms with being gay is difficult enough, particularly as a teenager. For sixteen-year-old Jericho Jiles, whose devoutly Christian parents have brought him up to believe the Bible’s word is law, it’s an even greater struggle. During the course of the novel, as his attraction to the same sex becomes harder to ignore, he is forced to question not only his sexuality, but everything his family stands for and the religion he has lived by all his life.

Things are going well for Jerry. He has loving parents, a sweet girlfriend, and a spot on the school basketball team. If he and his best friend Mac have a habit of getting into scrapes, it’s never anything too serious. Then Dylan Cussler moves to Webster’s Glenn with his boyfriend, stirring up the conservative neighborhood with his campaigns for gay rights, and Jerry and Mac’s trouble-making takes a darker turn. Dylan’s unchristian ways don’t belong in their community. He must be taught a lesson, and the two boys plan to trash Dylan’s house, a plan that goes horribly awry when Dylan catches them in the act.

After fleeing the scene, Jerry is terrified the police will arrest him at any moment. When nothing happens, however, his fear gives way to shame, until he is compelled to return to Dylan’s house and apologize. Jerry certainly doesn’t expect Dylan’s forgiveness, or that talking to him will open the floodgates to his own doubts about himself and his feelings for his friend Hutch. But he isn’t allowed to feel this way; the Bible says so. As he swings between his strengthening bond with Hutch and the security of his relationship with his girlfriend, Jerry is eaten up with guilt and confusion. Will he ever reconcile his religion with these new discoveries about his sexuality?

This is an authentic coming of age story following one boy’s journey to find himself. The author does a wonderful job of bringing across the opposing viewpoints, as well as showing Jerry’s hard-fought battle to reach his own conclusions. There’s no denying Jerry is a brilliant protagonist. He has his fair share of faults, and due to some of his actions, wasn’t always easy to like. Yet, for all that, he has a good heart that made it impossible for me not to identify with him and his turmoil.

If you enjoy realistic teen novels featuring true-to-life characters, and are interested in the conflict that exists between homosexuality and religion, I can recommend this book.





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Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 74464 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-January-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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