My rating: 3 of 5 stars (2.5 stars)
Seventeen-year-old Benjamin is shipped off to work on his grandparents’ remote farm in the fjords of Western Norway for the summer. It’s not like he didn’t deserve it. After all, he crashed his dad’s vintage Bonneville in a car-chase duel on a Miami freeway. Ben is mad at the world and not ready to reveal the reason for his bad behavior the past year, when he partied and got into fights to forget his attraction to his best friend’s hot cousin Dino.
Norway is cold and rainy, the farm is desolate and resists modernization, and the grandparents are quiet and religious. On to the scene waltzes Even, the eighteen-year-old farmhand, who counters Ben’s restlessness and complaints with friendship, fresh perspectives, and problems of his own.
With the mounting expectations of Ben taking over the farm one day, getting closer to Even becomes Ben’s only reason to stay put. As the friendship deepens, the two boys learn that secrets can turn into both beautiful and ugly truths, and that support can be found in unexpected places.
We start of with Ben, who crashes a car, and is sent to Norway because he just cannot sit the hell down. There we meet Even, who’s got his own issues, but seems like a cool guy because at least he’s trying to work his out. The only other really pertinent characters are the grandparents, who are old-school but still pretty wonderful.
I really wasn’t feeling this book. I loved the cover and the blurb sounded like a good, rebellious coming of age, ‘oh let me read this now’ kind of book. While I did make it to the end, I wasn’t enjoying myself as much as I thought I would.
Ben was unnecessarily rebellious.
Not, ‘OMG, I’m gay, so now I’m made at the world because why am I like this’. Because, as far as I could tell, he was totally fine with admiring guys.
Not ‘hey, I’m a teenager and I’m gonna be rebellious because I’m going through some things.’ Because he was, as far as I could tell, fine with being a teenager and was even trying to be a role model for his younger siblings.
He was more ‘I’m a dick and I’m going to wreck your shit so that you can’t have nice things’. Which made me not care about his story as much as Even’s.
I wouldn’t mind sitting around (aka working) with the grandparents. They’re pretty set in their ways, and word does get around, so I’d have to make it a short visit, but I wouldn’t mind all the same.
I did like reading about Norway and it’s culture. My feelings of the beauty of the country substituted for what I think I should have been feeling for Ben.
In the end, I’d take the country, but kick Ben to the curb. Just saying.