Title: Maybe with a Chance of Certainty
Author: John Goode
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: YA/Contemporary Romance
Length: Novella (93 pages/just under 30k words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
One Sentence Review: While not perfect for me, an overall well-written YA romance and start to a series.
Kyle has worked hard at being the invisible student, toiling through high school in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Brad is the baseball star at Foster High. Both boys are damaged in ways that the rest of the world can’t see. When they bond over a night of history tutoring, Kyle thinks that maybe his life has taken a turn for the not-so-lonely.
He finds out quickly that the promise of fairy-tale love is a lie when you’re gay and falling for one of the most popular boys in school, and if being different is a sin in high school, then being gay is the biggest sin of all. Now Kyle and Brad need to come to an understanding amidst the scrutiny of their peers or their fledgling relationship will crash and burn before it ever gets off the ground.
2nd Edition; 1st Edition published as a short story under the same title by Dreamspinner Press.
Maybe with a Chance of Certainty is the first installment of the Tales of Foster High series by this new author, and as I understand it, an expanded version of a shorter story of the same name. I’m a sucker for YA books, with all of their angsty goodness of first love and teenage issues and trying to find their place in the world, so I grabbed this one up. And who can resist a Paul Richmond cover, I ask you? Overall I liked this well-written and at-times humorous short (and quick) read and there are some great things going for it, but there were some issues as well that prevented me from liking it better (more on that in a bit).
I immediately fell for our first-person narrator, seventeen-year-old Kyle, who starts us off by saying “I don’t remember the moment I knew I was broken” then describes why he feels this way: bad homelife, attracted to guys, emotionally and socially “retarded.” His voice drew me in and kept me engaged. He is honest, realistic, smart, passionate and cynical, self-aware of his fears, weaknesses, issues and confidences as well. At one point he muses “I was seventeen, and I was already weary of the world.” Since he’s “different,” all he wants is to remain invisible and get out of high school without incident, but alas… He goes in, for the most part, with eyes open with Brad, knowing full well he can — and mostly likely will — get his heart trampled. I kept rooting for him though I — and he — could see where it was going. Or maybe not, as there are a few twists and curves thrown in.
For those of you who don’t like the under-eighteen crowd doin’ the nasty, there is a little, but steamy tame smexxin’, which felt right for the length of the story and the boys’ ages. The plot, covering the course of a few days, moved along at a decent pace. I also smiled at the movie and other pop culture references.
But, there were some niggles…
First, the seemingly never-ending crash-test and fairy-tale metaphors wore on me after a while and I found myself skipping paragraphs that began with it.
Second, and more importantly, I think I disliked popular jock and perhaps equally-screwed-up Brad, or at least did not understand him enough or his motives, for behaving the way he did. I found him inconsistent, selfish and unpredictable, and there were times I just wanted to hit him. But, as we are in Kyle’s head the entire time and seeing as this is the first book in the series, I am reserving some judgment here in hopes of getting a few answers and having Brad redeem himself (book two, The End of the Beginning, is from Brad’s POV so maybe?).
While not a perfect read for me, I found Maybe with a Chance of Certainty to be a well-written YA romance and start to a series. I’ll be reviewing the sequel, The End of the Beginning, next week.