Ben isn’t having any of it.
When his cell phone is broken while he is visiting his father, Ben survives by sheer will alone. Unable to text his mother or his friends for three weeks has put Ben in a bit of a foul temper. It doesn’t help that his father really doesn’t understand him or bother trying. Ben tells himself that he only has to put up with his father and Toronto for three weeks out of the year, but when one day feels like a long time, three weeks is forever.
All he’s looking forward to is the train ride home so that he can see his mother, stepfather Mick and his friends again. He just wants to pretend the last few weeks didn’t happen and get back to where he’s accepted. At this point, he just wants to be left alone. When he sees Caleb walking towards him, Ben groans inwardly. As if three weeks with his father isn’t enough, he has to spend the entire trip home with the guy who broke his phone.
However, even through the anger, Ben can’t deny how cute Caleb is. Ben also can’t deny how nice Caleb looks in a white t-shirt, if you like that kind of thing. However, when they begin to talk, Ben is surprised to know that Caleb knows who he is and that breaking the phone was an accident. Ben is used to riding the rials, going from point A to point B, not making waves or being seen. It’s more comfortable him that way.
As they continue talking, Ben realizes that he’s misjudged Caleb a little, even if he did break Ben’s phone. It gives them a common ground and somehow melts the ice between them, or at least the upset that Ben is holding onto. When their conversation turns to family, Ben is surprised when Caleb not only reveals that he has two gay dads.
The fact that Ben is starting to develop a crush on Caleb and his gorgeous arms (no one should look that good in a t-shirt) is besides the point. When Caleb reveals that he’s bisexual, Ben starts to see Caleb, and himself, in a whole new light.
The train ride has gotten a lot more interesting…
I’m always amazed by ‘Nathan Burgoine. He always manages to fill his books with characters that are so real that by the ending of the book, I’ve met new friends that I feel like I know completely. He creates such real people that they live off the page. I’ve been thinking about Ben, Caleb, Raj and everyone in this book since I finished reading it. Burgoine manages to write characters that stay with you.
I love Ben so much. I see so much of myself in him. I was so introverted in high school and didn’t want people to notice me, mostly because I was so desperate to fit in. I did what I could to ride the rails and not make waves and not be seen, yet there was something within me that people saw anyways. Ben wants to hide, but he never hides who he is. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s gay; in fact, that he’s a part of the Rainbow Club. I love the fact that though he wants to remain hidden, Ben doesn’t hide who he is.
The other thing that stuck out to me was that, while Caleb had well muscled arms, Burgoine makes it known that he doesn’t have a totally muscular physique. I love the fact that, though Caleb is athletic and plays basketball, he doesn’t have the typical jock physique; he’s just comfortable with who he is. He’s open about who he is and doesn’t care what others think about him or his sexuality. This really hit home for me and went against the norm. Caleb is a jock character who isn’t physically perfect and he’s openly bisexual. This plays totally against the jock character stereotype and I’m so thankful to see that on the page.
Stuck With You is such a wonderful story that goes beyond all of my expectations (and they were very high!). The story gave me all the feels and left me with a genuine feeling of joy and warmth that has stayed with me. I can’t wait read Stuck With You again and fall in love with the story and characters once more.
‘Nathan Burgoine has written a true gem of a book and boy, does it ever sparkle.