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review 2015-06-09 05:44
Caught in the Crossfire - Juliann Rich

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." -1 Corinthians 13:12 King James Version (KJV)

 

sixteen-year old Jonathan Cooper is back at Spirit Lake Bible Camp with his fellow teen believers. he looks forward to enjoying his summer away from home but his plans are steered in a different course when he meets and falls for Ian McGuire, a new camper. Jonathan is caught in a crossfire between his feelings for Ian and his belief in God. when a storm hits camp, Jonathan is faced with a difficult decision. whatever he chooses, it will have far-reaching consequences.

 

this is the first book in the Crossfire Trilogy. there is no doubt that it is very well-written. author Juliann Rich knows what she is writing about. she presents different views through her characters and allows the reader to reflect on them and hopefully be able to gain a new perspective.

 

her protagonists and other players are neither stereotypes nor caricatures. Jonathan's struggles and Ian's attitude toward homosexuality are realistically portrayed and so are the varied reactions of some campers and counselors. some are accepting while others are either apathetic or prejudiced.

 

i have high praises for this book and its author. this coming-of-age/coming out story is a perfect read for anyone who has ever struggled with what he emotionally feels and with what he spiritually believes in. there may be a lot of drama and conflict but there is also so much beauty and wisdom in here as well. i think that a lot of readers can easily relate to the story and its characters for its universal theme regardless of their sexual orientation, color, race, background or religious affiliation.

 

*received a copy for review from the publisher

Source: aobibliosphere.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-caught-in-crossfire-by-juliann.html
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review 2014-07-13 17:23
Review: Caught in the Crossfire by Juliann Rich
Caught in the Crossfire - Juliann Rich

Juliann Rich’s debut novel Caught in the Crossfire is a new and much needed story in Gay YA literature.

 

The book is about a gay teen who is a devout Christian, and struggling to reconcile those two things. We first meet Jonathan at the beginning of a month long bible camp. At the beginning of the story, Jonathan is aware of his feelings for guys, but not too eager to try and understand them. We’re also introduced to Ian, the love interest, quite early. Ian, we learn, is also gay and is much more outspoken about gay rights. The beginning of Jonathan’s friendship with Ian is the catalyst to him really discovering his sexuality and forcing him to come to terms with what it means for him and his faith.

 

In a previous post, I mentioned how this book reminded me of fan fiction. That is not a diss at all– if you look down on fan fiction, you probably have never read a really really good one. The thing about fan fiction, is that it talks about sex in a very honest (and yes, explicit,) way. And because of this, it can show what consent and safety looks like, what the repercussions and aftereffects can be, better than anything else. That’s what made me reckon this book to fan fiction: the honesty with with Rich talks about sex. 

 

Two of the main supporting characters were a Native American woman, and a disabled man. I was happy when they came into the story, because all too often gay white boys become the face of diversity, and Caught in the Crossfire avoided that pitfall. The thing that made me particularly happy was that they weren’t given worth simply because a white guy decided to like them. They were fully formed characters who held their own space, and even gave HIM worth with their gazes. But it was also very clear they had lives of their own, outside of helping Jonathan– which is not only realistic, but also very respectful and unfortunately not often done.

 

Along the same lines, in many love stories between two guys, there’s always a female that falls into the “desperate cock-blocking bitch.” While there was a girl in this story that was interested in Jonathan, I think you would have to stretch very far to throw that at her.

 

This is an important book because although I’ve seen queer characters struggle with their sexuality because they’re in religious families, most of them at the end abandon the religion, and in some cases their entire religious community. Which isn’t to say that path is wrong– It’s just important to have stories about the kids who decide to go a different way. Although I think this is a book anyone would like, it’s an important book for queer teens growing up in Christian families, and the people who make up those families. Having gone through a situation like that myself, I found myself wishing I had this book four years ago so I could hand it to all my Christian friends.

 

A new era of Gay YA has come, that have queer characters that aren’t defined solely by their queerness. Caught in the Crossfire definitely falls into that camp. I don’t know how that’s possible, because Jonathan’s sexuality is sort of a huge part of the book, but somehow, he’s never defined solely or even predominately by his sexuality. Which was pretty cool, because like, as a queer teen, yes there is a lot I’m still exploring and some of my life is revolving around that, but not enough that it becomes the sole part of who I am.

 

And aside from all of that, the story was beautifully written and highly enjoyable. Usually in first person POV, I begin to feel like I’m in the author’s head instead of the characters– that didn’t happen with this book. I’d go so far as to say that this is the best first person POV I’ve ever read. Jonathan’s voice never wavered. The other character’s voices were also extremely clear and consistent. Juliann somehow mastered the art of capturing distinctly different voices without bogging the dialogue down with speech tics: I found that I always knew who was speaking before I read the tag.

 

The plot clipped along at a nice pace and no part of it felt like it dragged or was rushed. The description Juliann used really made me feel like I was there, seeing all of it. The characters were lovable and realistic, and all went on amazing journeys.

 

When I first picked up Caught in the Crossfire I honestly didn’t expect much from something so thin, but it took me places I did not expect. I read it in two days. I cried three times. And I would definitely recommend it. I can’t wait to read the sequel Searching for Grace when it comes out this September!

 

Book Review written by Victoria, co-webmistress of GayYA.org, and was originally posted at http://www.gayya.org/?p=724

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review 2014-06-20 00:00
Caught in the Crossfire
Caught in the Crossfire - Juliann Rich Jonathan Cooper is attending Bible Camp at Spirit Lake for his eighth summer. Jake Miller, the bane of his existence, is also there, but so is a new camper, Ian McGuire. And Ian is gay. A devout Christian, Jonathan is struggling with his own sexuality. He has difficulty reconciling his feelings with what he's been taught to believe as a Christian. He prays to God that these feelings will go away, but he has an undeniable attraction to Ian. As Jonathan and Ian grow closer, tensions escalate. Who will be caught in the crossfire?

This book is extremely well-written and well-edited, with some lovely lines. The story was a bit too contrived for my liking, however I think it will resonate with its target audience. There is a good balance between exploring the feelings and opinions of Jonathan, his peers, his counselors, and parental figures. This book will be helpful for young people who find themselves in a similar situation to Jonathan. You can also visit the author's website for some valuable GLBTQ resources.

I received this book in return for an honest review.
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review 2014-06-15 00:00
Caught in the Crossfire
Caught in the Crossfire - Juliann Rich This was a lovely story about finding youself and trusting that god loves everyone no matter what. Johnathan meets Ian at bible camp and is immediately drawn to him even though at first he refuses to acknowledge why that is. Ian works hard to get Johnathan to accept himself and give them a chance but Johnathan has been taught that what he feels is sin and has to come to terms with his belief before he can love. Then he's faced with a decision: stand up for his feelings or lose Ian forever.
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review 2014-06-04 00:00
Caught in the Crossfire
Caught in the Crossfire - Juliann Rich Our world is changing before our eyes. For the older generations, they've seen so many changes it would boggle the mind. Growing up, they've seen racial segregation come to a halt, interracial couples no longer needing to hide their love for one another, interracial marriage, homosexuals being able to walk down the street together and now same-sex marriage. No, not everyone is accepting of everything I just listed, but basic civil right freedoms being given to all is a step in the right direction to bring the prejudices to a halt. Knowledge will make you free, change will make you free, ignoring what's before your eyes will only bring you and others pain. This is a story about a boy who realizes he's not like the other boys but because of people's prejudices, feels the pain of being different.

I was a little stuck in the rating of this book. On one side, it's a great read for the YA audience, an outlet of information for those who are reading to either understand their or others sexual orientation. Acceptance starts with awareness, and awareness starts with knowledge. Ignorance is not bliss. Now, on the other hand, the basic premise of this story has been played out many times over in one way or another. Christian boy ashamed of feeling what he feels, but starts to accept it when he meets someone like himself. A first love sparked in bible camp, which is forbidden and ridiculed by the close minded christian campers and counselors. A fallout and a realization.

The author created all the characters in this book perfectly. I could see each one as I read through the book. I could feel their emotions coursing through them and I could sense the way their brains were churning. I wanted to hug Jonathan and reassure him, yell at Ian to be more understanding, punch Jake where it counts for being such an ignorant jerk, shake reality into Paul and thank Simon for being the rock that Jonathan needed so much. A group of people, with all their individual thoughts, brought together in a way that will be a turning point for most of them. There is a line in this book that hits the thought of homosexuality right on the head, "Weren't gay guys just about casual relationships that were based on sex?" This right here is why same sex couples get the heat that they do, clueless people not realizing that a man can have a loving relationship with another man, same with women. Homosexuality is not about sex, it's about loving someone like yourself. I look forward to the day when there are no 'terms' for people based on who they want a relationship with or not.

Yes, there is a heavy Christian aspect to this book, but the message that is given in the long run, as one character stated, Hate is Hate. Loving someone of the same sex doesn't change you, you are the same person you were all along, you just aren't hiding yourself away anymore, you actually are better than what you were because you are accepting you for you. People talk about the Bible and all it says about homosexuality, but in this story you learn so much more of the Bible. You learn about some of the goofy things in it that have been pushed to the side over the years because it is just a bit outlandish.

The writing is good, terms are contemporary, situations are realistic. Any person who is open to this genre will come out knowing more than they did going into it. I would like to know how Jonathan's relationship with his parents were after camp was over with. I have a feeling that his parents came around and embraced their son and accepted him for who he is, at least I hope that's what happened. Okay, I have decided on my rating. Before starting my review, I was sure this was a 3 star, but after writing this and thinking about the story even more, it is a solid 4 star book.
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