RIDEby Published 28 Oct 2017
Bentley Williams never thought he’d hit rock bottom at 19-years-old. From top-rated college running back to homeless, girlfriend-less, UCLA dropout, Bentley can’t help but wonder if he’s making the right decision. Pursuing a career as a BMX rider likely means a life of struggling to afford groceries, but he can’t imagine doing anything else. The sport’s in his blood. After a visit to his uncle’s shop involves him flirting with the green-eyed new guy instead of looking for a new bike, Bentley ends up questioning himself even more.
Kit Edwards was used to being treated like a leper in his small hometown of Junction, Ohio. After foolishly getting involved with the closeted high school quarterback, he decides to move as far away for school as possible. UCLA is perfect – the weather is beautiful, his roommate isn’t crazy, and people couldn’t care less about his orientation.
People care so little that Kit finds himself in a flirting match with the unfairly attractive guy that wanders into the bike shop where he works. But, Kit refuses to go down that road again. Popular athletes were a no, and straight guys were a definite no. Bentley doesn’t seem interested in going away, and as a friendship forms, Kit promises himself he won’t make the same mistake twice.
This is my first book by this author, but I’ll tell you now, it won’t be my last. I absolutely loved this book and I adored Bentley and Kit. They were both sweet, nurturing and caring guys and they fit together perfectly. The chemistry between them was amazing and the progression of their relationship from friends to lovers felt natural. I especially loved the ease with which Benny comes to terms with and accepts his attraction to Kit, since he’s always thought of himself as straight.
The story was really long, but it’s well-written and interesting. The flow was a little slow at times, but the author held my attention with this story that was filled with sweetness, romance, laugh out loud moments and a touch of angst.
I not only loved Kit and Benny, who kept me in stitches with their witty banter, but I loved the secondary characters as well, and I know of one in particular who I’m hoping the author will revisit and give a story. The secondary characters of Benny and Kit’s family and friends were awesome and amazingly supportive of them.
This was an enjoyable and very recommendable story!
*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher*
This book was soo cute and sweet. Both boys were adorable, so different but so complimentary to each other.
This is the story of Kit, a boy starting college in Cali after being out and proud in a small town in Ohio. There, he suffered the bigotry of the town small-minded people and was subject to bullying and heartbreak. He is so optimistic, talented and such a beautiful soul despite it all.
And it is the story of Bentley, open minded, jock of all trades Bentley who decides to drop his full ride in UCLA to pursue his BMX dreams.
All of Bentley’s straightness goes down the toilet with a single look at Kit. Both teens are flashed with the other and a beautiful friends-who-flirt-like-crazy relationship start till both of them realize that what they feel is much more than friendship.
I loved the banter between Kit and Bentley. I loved how they both accepted and loved each other for what they were, no conditions attached. But most of all, loved how Bentley didn’t even question his feelings for Kit. He was clear that, even if he hadn’t liked any other guys before, Kit was it for him.
I didn’t like that the book dragged at parts and then the end felt abrupt. I’d have loved an epilogue...
Overall a good book.
wow. that's all that comes to mind at the end of this book. I was a bit afraid to not get along with the story having reading the first one of it, but after the fifth chapter, I was completely in love with these two love birds. I can't wait to read it all over again. Well done Nellie.
This is a really good read. There are so many things that you could say his book was about. Like finding your true self. Or pursuing a dream despite what others think. Also it could be described as a book about learning to love ones self as well as others despite what others think of you.
Kit knows first hand what it is like to fall for a closeted athlete. He had his heart broken by one and now the last thing he wants is too get involved with another athlete. Especially one that has never been attracted to a man before. So when Kit meets Bentley and they spend time together, it is hard to ignore that even though Bentley is everything that Kit does not want, he is also everything that he does want at the exact same time.
Bentley takes the fact that he is attracted to a man at stride. The fact that he is as amazing as Kit is makes it that much easier for Bentley to accept. The problem is getting Kit to give them a try after the things he went through. Not only that but extreme sports may or may not be accepting of he fact that Bentley is with a guy. So the options really need to weighed and decided carefully.
Once these two men finally get on the same page and decide to give it a go, now it is a matter of being able to stay together. Can they do it or is it going to be just too hard?
This was a really good read. I enjoyed all the ups and downs and I really respected the fact that Bentley accepted his feelings for Kit so easily. It is a true statement as too his own self confidence and self worth that he was able to accept that he is in the least bisexual. This book is one that kept me enthralled through the whole read and definitely on my list of must read for others. I look forward to more books by Nellie in the future.
Was given this galley copy for free for an open and honest review
The book follows the start of the career of Bentley Williams in the world of profesional BMX following his father footsteps - a freestyle pioneer - from his life as star player in the UCLA team, trough hitting rock bottom until the heights of professional success.
Bentley spends much of his young life pursuing relationships with women, before he recognizes his desire for Kit – a freshman student from Ohio - and acknowledges their friendship as something more. The complexity of the main characters’ relationships, pursuing the future he’s always dreamed of, to sexual identity is one way Nellie elevates the character from mere “window dressing”, to a well written and developed characters that you can’t help but forget that it all started as fanfiction.
Just as Nellie’s characters challenge conventional categories of sexual identity, RIDE never avoids the familiar narratives of gay fiction. She approaches the collective traumas that have so deeply shaped modern gay identity — bullying and discrimination — obliquely, touching the conventions of the coming-out narrative.
Her characters suffer anxiety about the public reception of their sexual identities — They will be tormented by pursuing a relationship with a closeted guy, being outed by the media, dealing with the no-label-label, and realizing their own sexuality.
The novel centers on Bentley, when he arrives at an underground BMX competition with only a backpack and no bike. Homeless and horribly scarred that he’s taking the wrong path, he’s profoundly aware of his new life. The book slowly discloses episodes from his life as a college drop out homeless kid, trying to persue his dream and honor his father, against his mother and exgirlfriend beliefs. “I love BMX. If I’m not doing what I love, then I’m not living” he says. Everything changes when unexpectedly Kit Edwards appears in Benny’s life.
Sometimes young queer suffering is at the heart of RIDE, the recents events in Kit’s life are an extreme iteration of being out and proud in a little community, the experience of many queer young people. Even as he changes his environment, Kits’s sense of the logic of his life never changes. His self-loathing is shocking from the start, and only grows more abject: he is “a no one,” “naive”, “poor excuse of a guy”, even “crossed out as a disgusting predator.” After all that, he believes he will never be able to able to enjoy emotional intimacy, even as he craves to find it.
Both Kit and Bentley endure other aspects of their lives — each one pursue their dreams, each one is brilliant, each one becomes not just successful but famous. The book is scaled to not only the intensity of Bentley’s inner life, but also the life of the people around him and for long passages it forces the reader to experience a world that’s brutally warped by prejudice and fear. Again and again RIDE conveys Bentley’s sense of himself through an elaborate metaphor: Success is big; failure is small, Success is moving forward; failure is static or stumbling. He’s doing something he’s passionate about instead of something the rest of the world want him to do. “Wanting something badly even though it could hurt you,“ Bentley repeated. "That’s what love is, huh?”
The book also reminds readers of the long filiation between gay art and gay life — those aspects we’ve been encouraged to forget in an era that’s increasingly embracing gay marriage and homonormativity. This is not a register of feeling or expression readers are accustomed to in American literary fiction. Combined with the novel’s emotional extremity and the tightness of its focus on Bentley’s d decisions, the structure and use of modern aspects of communication such as social media produces a feeling of immersion that’s almost unprecedented.
Nellie also defends friendship as a primary relationship, as central as marriage to the making of lives and communities. “I just want you to know that despite what happens, I’m proud of you. We all are. And, I think you are amazing, even if you’re a crazy man who breaks into buildings” Kit says early in the novel. For Bentley, the people around him had imagined his life for him, but Kit had allowed him to believe in possibilities that he would never have conceived. Their relationships with one another challenge categorization.
It might have been mawkish and just a game, Kit thinks about his feeling for the rider, but it’s also true. This is the claim that animates RIDE: that by challenging the canons of current literary taste, by embracing drama and exaggeration with a touch of comedy and sentiment, it can access emotional truths.