Black Eyed Boy by Laura Huntley
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (98 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Emily is fifteen. She feels like a ghost in her own home as her parents seem increasingly lost in their own worlds, and only has her best friend, Billy, for company.
Then Emily meets Dylan, the mysterious and gorgeous new stranger in town. With his unusual eyes and irresistible charm, she is soon smitten. But with Billy’s growing jealousy and a series of devastating family tragedies, can they last? Should they?
Dylan is hiding a powerful secret; a secret that could change Emily’s life forever.
There are many different ways to meet new people. What happens after that depends on who you meet.
One of the things I really enjoy seeing in young adult fiction is an empathic adult who listens to what the main character has to say. Mrs. Bishop, the next-door neighbor, made me smile as soon as I met her. She treated Emily with such kindness that I wished every scene could include her. The friendship between them was a highlight of this tale for me because of how fond I was of Mrs. Bishop.
This story included a lot of telling me what was happening instead of showing it. The plot dealt with a lot of difficult topics, so Emily had plenty of opportunities to show readers why she was struggling so much with everything that was going on her life. Had these scenes included more details about how certain events affected the main character, I would have felt comfortable choosing a higher rating.
Living in a community that attracts a lot of tourists isn’t always easy. As someone who knows what that can be like, I was impressed by how accurate the protagonist’s descriptions were of this scenario. There are advantages and disadvantages to living in such a high-traffic area, and she pinned all of them down precisely.
The romantic subplot moved incredibly quickly. I could understand why the characters involved in it would be attracted to one another, but I would have liked to see more attention paid to why they would make a good match. They knew so little about each other. It was surprising to see them take certain steps given that they’d only known one another for a short period of time.
Emily is a girl who is changing rapidly, and her character development reflected that. I liked seeing how Ms. Huntley gave the reader glimpses of Emily’s rapidly fading girlhood as well as who she is becoming as a young woman. This was a nice way to represent what it feels like to be fifteen.
Black Eyed Boy is a good choice for anyone who is in the mood for something that doesn’t reveal all of its secrets right away.