In Pictures of You by Leta Blake, growing up gay isn’t easy for Peter and Adam. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee in the 90’s is even harder. I received one copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest reviews but all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
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Pictures of You by Leta Blake
Purchase Links: Pictures of You by Leta Blake on Amazon
Series: ’90s Coming of Age Book 1
Author: Leta Blake
Publisher: Leta Blake Books (September 16, 2016)
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Young Adult
Length/Format: 817 KB/316 pages
Heat Rating: 3
Star Rating: 5
Pictures of You by Leta Blake Blurb:
Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1991—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends, preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.
Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter’s swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices? And will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, open a new path?
Join Peter in the first book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.
Pictures of You by Leta Blake Review:
Pictures of You by Leta Blake is a long novel but it is still only part one of Peter’s story. He is a newly transferred senior at a private high school in Tennessee. It is 1990 and his is gay. Of course, he can’t actually TELL anyone that. Being the 90’s in a southern town means very little tolerance for the LGBTQ lifestyle. Of course, it doesn’t keep people at his old school from beating him up regularly. He is hoping things will be different at his new school but he is keeping his mouth shut just in case. He has his photography and that is all he needs. Until Adam moves in down the street.
Adam has a relatively horrible family life. After traveling extensively with his family, he is sent to live with his older brother in Knoxville while his parents are still overseas. He and his twin sister will be starting at the same school as Peter in the fall but summer is all about having fun. He is gorgeous, a world traveler, and is totally into Peter. While his is loving all the sexual discovery and bonding he and Peter do over the summer, making it through the school year without being discovered is going to take so many lies it is hard to keep them all straight. (no pun intended….). If you don’t like cheating, this is not the book for you. Adam creates a whole other life to hide his relationship with Peter and it will have you royally pissed off for most of the book.
So, let me just say that Adam is an asshole. I get that he comes from a rough family background but he is a total and complete jerk and I hated him for most of this story. I don’t get how he could be so sweet and caring to Peter one minute and then spew hurtful lies 5 seconds later.
And poor Peter..he is so deeply in love and so willing to put up with Adam’s crap that it makes me angry. He is so passionate about his photography and he just wants to fit in. He is so happy to be included in Adam’s group of friends that he is willing to be stepped on repeatedly as long as he and Adam can continue to be together.
The author did an amazing job of creating well developed secondary characters. I struggled to understand the emotional issues with Peter’s mom that kept her from being able to really understand her own son. Adam’s sister was a demon in disguise and I’m just not sure how she is going to make it in life without someone strangling her. All of the characters were wonderful but I really loved Robert/Renee. Just just a unique character!
I loved the 90’s references! I graduated high school in 1990 and I can TOTALLY related to this decade. There were mix tapes and Patrick Swayze is definitely dreamy in Ghost.
There are so many ups and downs in this story. The highs of Peter and Adam being in love and the lows of Adam treating Peter like crap right after will just leave you an emotional wreck. The writing is simply amazing and just draws you right into the story. You will not want to put this book down at all. And when the book ends, you aren’t really at the end of Peter’s journey. This is only part one of a four book series so you aren’t going to get a happily ever after. I am really looking forward to reading the next book to find out where Peter’s life goes from here and definitely recommend that you start reading this series right now!