On Chocorua: Book 1 of the Trailblazer series - Book Review

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On Chocorua: Book 1 of the Trailblazer series

Author: Robin Reardon
Genre: Fiction - General
Publisher: IAM Books
Date Published: February 2, 2019
ISBN-10: 099884148X
ISBN-13: 9780998841489

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GoodReads Rating:
4.17

Book Review of :  On Chocorua: Book 1 of the Trailblazer series



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Author Robin Reardon pens a brilliantly written piece of coming of age fiction titled. On Chocorua: Book 1 of the Trailblazer series.  The relatable young gay protagonist, Nathan Bartlett, is struggling with who he is and how he can fit into the big world that he is a part of. The story takes place in New Hampshire, and as a native of New Hampshire, I found the description of its rugged beauty and Reardon’s treatment of the citizens and the state, in general, were right on.

The book is a commentary on Nathan’s world, mainly as a Freshman college student struggling between embracing adulthood and accepting himself as a gay man. Reardon describes Nathan’s confusion and virtual jealousy of his barren social life compared to the life of those of the heterosexual majority around him as they talk of their relationships, their sexual conquests, and the love that they are enjoying from their partners. Nathan finds himself alone most of the time, fantasizing about impossible relationships with straight guys that he finds attractive.  Now in college, he has decided to open the closet door a bit more and see if people will accept him for who he really is. He still fears that when he does, he will find abuse, hatred, and fear.

He questions his sexuality and finds himself wanting to have a partner; he wants to fall in love, he evens contemplates what it might be like to be a father.  He finds himself fascinated with women but feels no sexual desire for them, but as friends, yes.  He realizes that women are often magnets to attract the kind of men he finds most attractive and that he lusts after. Unfortunately, Nathan's proclivity to being attracted to mostly straight men certainly ups the odds against developing any serious romantic relationship.  In fact, Nathan establishes one close platonic relationship with a straight guy named Daniel Cooke, which is facilitated largely by Daniel’s attraction to Nathan’s sister, Nina.

Eventually, Nathan and Daniel decide to share an adventure hiking Mount Chocorua which is a part of the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  The hike turns into a nightmare. If you have an interest in climbing mountains, the description of their adventure and the various steps they took fighting to stay alive could save your life. 

Nathan comes from a family that has been plagued with tragedy – he is motherless and fatherless with his big brother Neil acting as his father figure. Neil happens to have hiked Mount Chocorua, which was part of the reason Nathan wanted to do it. He wanted to show his big brother that he had it in him also.

The book is a study of a young man alienated from himself and, to a certain degree, estranged from his roots, trying desperately to discover his identity. He ponders if his life will ever be one fulfilled with love, kindness, joy, and compassion.

On Chocorua: Book 1 of the Trailblazer series is a book that celebrates the ability of people of totally different sexual persuasion to come together in harmony. It is a very relevant piece of literature for our slowly evolving world of accepting others for who they really are. It is an intriguing, complex narrative with a quality of retrospection that is rare, yet refreshing in YA literature


Reviewed by: James B

About Robin Reardon


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Robin Reardon is an inveterate observer of human nature, creating stories about all kinds of people, some of whom happen to be gay or transgender-people whose destinies are not determined solely by their sexual orientation or gender identity. She writes endings that are realistically hopeful rather than sugary and "happy ever after." Robin was thrilled that early readers of her work were convinced she was a gay man. Her motto is this: The only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out. In everything she writes, she challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about what it means to be LGBTQ+. Robin has five novels released through Kensington Publishing and has four independently published novels. A Secret Edge was a finalist in the annual Lambda Literary competition; The Evolution of Ethan Poe was on the 2012 ALA Rainbow List and won first place in several Rainbow Awards categories; and Waiting for Walker was awarded a cash prize by the North Street Book contest. Her stories feature characters who are gay, lesbian, straight, bi, gender queer, cisgender, trans, and intersex. Robin has contributed work for LBGTQ+ charitable causes, including a novella benefitting The Trevor Project and a short story supporting author Brent Hartinger's Real Story Safe Sex Project. Interests outside of writing include singing, nature photography, and the study of comparative religion. Robin writes in a butter yellow study with a view of the Boston, Massachusetts skyline.




Visit https://robinreardon.com for more information on Robin Reardon


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