A Good Enough Reason, by C.M. Lievens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.
Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.
As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.
But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?
A Good Enough Reason started out as a real page turner but after finishing I don’t think Lievens’ writing style is for me. That’s not to say it’s bad but I didn’t care for the overabundance of superfluous, mundane details and a lack of the essential ones pertaining to the plot – especially at the end. That said, I really liked the characters and the narrative moves at a quick pace so it was pretty easy to overlook the things that bothered me and move on with the story.
Ellis is an avid fanfic writer and aspiring author who would rather spend his Friday nights putting pen to paper than hanging out with the popular crowd. I adored his nerdiness and thought he was in a good place about being gay even when he had yet to tell anyone. He’s having a rough time at school with Mark, a football playing bully who seems to be fixated on him but he’s afraid to speak up for fear of the backlash that might bring. He has a great relationship with his family and even though I enjoyed the interactions between him and Dale, I think it was the moments with his parents and brothers that were my favorite. While we also get to see Dale interact with his own family we don’t learn very much about Dale himself aside from that he’s a soccer star and closeted nerd. He’s also bisexual but he’s kept that secret to himself until he meets Ellis. I liked that although he ignored his bi-ness in the beginning, he wasn’t freaking out about it and fully embraces it once he realizes that Ellis is who he wants to be with. The two become fast friends when they’re paired up for a school project and I really loved seeing them get to know each other.
I think the author does a good job portraying the lives of these high school kids. There were a few moments that I thought were quite funny when Ellis’ mother talks openly to him about sex (we’ve all had those embarrassing conversations) but it becomes redundant when nearly every other family member does the same. Safe sex is an important topic, especially for young readers, but after the fourth mention of condoms and lube my eyes were rolling from the repetition so I think some of this could’ve been edited out.
It did seem strange to me that almost no one is aware of the bullying that Ellis is receiving from Mark and the people who are witness to it never speak up on Ellis’ behalf. There’s a lot of build up of how LGBTQ+ kids deal with classmates and school functions, and this has a lot to do with their school project, but the book is wrapped up very quickly so I was left feeling like the whole point of the story was glossed over in the end. I wanted to know more about what happens to Mark, how they approached their project, and what happens at prom and beyond. I think this could’ve been resolved with more explanation and, perhaps, an epilogue to give me a little idea of what direction their lives go in after their HFN ending.
Overall I thought this was a cute story with enough twists to keep me interested. It was just an “okay” read for me so I would say if you’re a fan of Lievens’ work and the blurb sounds like something you would be into, you should definitely check it out.
C.M. Lievens is a penname Catherine Lievens uses when she writes stories with little to no sex, and more specifically, Young Adult ones.
She lives in Italy with her husband, three cats, and her son, who luckily isn’t going to be a young adult for many years to come, because Catherine is not prepared for that just yet. She loves to write about different people and situations, hence the need for a penname.
When she’s not putting pen to paper to plot her next story, writing while avoiding her kid’s questions (he’s way too curious for his own good), or talking to her cats, she can be found hiding in the bathroom, because that’s the only place where she can read in peace.
You can buy A Good Enough Reason at:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.