on December 17th 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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Mary is stuck in Section One, living with three hundred women in a crumbling hospital. She wonders what life was like two centuries ago, before the Cleansing wiped out all the men. But the rules—the Matriarch's senseless rules—prevent her from exploring the vacant city to find out.
Taylor's got a dangerous secret: he's a boy. His compound's been destroyed, and he's been relocated to Section One. Living under the Matriarch means giving up possessions, eating canned food and avoiding all physical contact. Baggy clothes hide his flat chest and skinny legs, but if anyone discovers what lies beneath, he'll be exiled. Maybe even executed.
Mary's never seen a boy—the Matriarch cut the pictures of men from the textbooks—and she doesn't suspect Taylor's secret. If she knew, she might understand the need to stop the girls from teasing him. If she knew, she might realize why she breaks the rules, just to be near him. Then again, she might be frightened to death of him.
Taylor should go. The Matriarch is watching his every move. But running means leaving Mary—and braving the land beyond the compound's boundaries.
Not Your Typical Love Story
My books tend to have intricate plots and a lot of complications. Oftentimes the characters are put in uncomfortable situations, such as being forced to relocate, grieving a loss or being pursued by the protagonist, which can make romance problematic. This may be their first real relationship, even their first kiss. Jumping full speed into a love scene makes little sense.
I’ll use The Hunger Games for example. The relationship between Katniss and Peeta is complicated, to say the least. They are fighting for their lives, and on camera to boot. It makes perfect sense that their kissing scene is awkward and their relationship strained.
In my novel The Only Boy, Taylor is hiding his identity. He’s lost his family and friends. He’s been thrown into an unfamiliar and potentially hostile environment. Add to this the fact that he’s never really had a girlfriend, and I’m sure you can see how new relationships would be difficult.
Mary, his love interest, is strong-willed. With only women living in her compound and with a constant fear of disease, interactions are discouraged, even forbidden. She has never even met a boy and is confused by her feelings for Taylor. This often leads to misunderstandings and, at times, distrust.
Mary and Taylor’s relationship is far from perfect. They have different upbringings and conflicting desires. They aren’t always nice to each other. Oftentimes, they act in ways that may come off as cold or even mean. In my opinion, this makes them more real.
If you’re looking for a breezy romance, where everything is flowers and fireworks from the start, The Only Boy may not be right for you. If you enjoy complicated stories, however, books in which the characters have to work through their problems and fight for their right to be together, maybe you should give The Only Boy a look.