Cranberry Boys Book Cover Cranberry Boys
Watermarsh Tales Book 1
Scudder James Jr
LGBT YA
Harmony Ink Press
September 3, 2019
161

Is it possible to have it all—even for a boy from a dying town of old cranberry bogs? Even for the son of religious zealots who will never accept his being gay? Even if his closeted boyfriend will never acknowledge their relationship and dates girls to distract people?

Sixteen-year-old cross-country runner Zeph hopes so, because he isn’t giving up on his happily ever after. He has big plans for life after high school and for his relationship with Connor… even if Connor insists they keep it secret.

Then Bronson, an old friend of Zeph’s, returns to Watermarsh after being kicked out of boarding school with secrets of his own in tow. But they keep their eyes on the prize and start a blog to impress colleges who often dismiss small-town students like them.

But not even Zeph can run from everything as his home life implodes and the love triangle he’s stuck in with Bronson and Connor begins to crumble. He’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to hope—even if it means a covert trip to Bronson’s old prep school.

Review by Xanthe

Reviewer for The Paranormal Romance Guild

So, this is a new to me author and I love to read Young Adult romances. I think it’s the idea of the future possibilities that they have along with the hints of innocence.

I did struggle a little with this story as I found myself regularly getting frustrated, not just with Zeph, the MC, but also a couple of the other characters involved. Zeph has a secret boyfriend in his best friend, Connor. Of course, Connor has a girlfriend to keep up appearances and throw people off. Zeph accepts a lot of what Connor does as he still gets him to himself every once in a while. Reading Connor’s character, he seemed quite volatile and self-involved and I took a quick dislike to him. Then Bronson appears, a boy they knew who moved away for reasons that are made clear later in the story, a heartbreaking tale for him. Zeph’s attraction to him sparks a new interest but he is also reluctant to let go of what he knows and is comfortable with Connor.

There are a lot of repeated actions with Zeph and Connor which led a little to my frustrations. It took a long for Zeph to learn firstly about himself and what he truly wants from a relationship and for his future but then also in regards to those around him and whether they are good to have in his life. Along with relationship turmoil, Zeph also has trouble at home with no acceptance of who he is from his parents. Understandably, this brings its own tension to him and even leads to a huge event happening within his household. My heart really went to him as he made valid arguments and urged his parents to see him with little success.

I’d recommend this book for adults and teenagers as I think that this is a good story for people to read. I struggled with how Zeph was with other characters and his subsequent actions but it is still entertaining to read. There are differing opinions on a lot of topics including sexuality, religion, schooling etc and I found a lot of it interesting to read. This is set in small town America with a lot of basis on who your family is and where you come from, especially with the history of the Cranberry Bogs. I’m interested to see who the next book in the series will have as its main character.

There is a conversation about an attempted suicide for a character but the event never happens.