The Zero Knot by K.Z. SnowPublished by Dreamspinner Press
Blurb: Eighteen-year-old Jess Bonner is casting off pretense—and, with it, some friends from his past who aren’t particularly trustworthy. In just a few months he’ll be starting college, and it’s time for him to admit the truth: he’s gay, not bi, and only one of his
childhood buddies holds any kind of real interest for him. When Dylan Finch, aka Mig, follows his lead and puts some distance between himself and the old crowd, he and Jess give in to a mutual attraction that’s been building for years.
But navigating a fledgling relationship isn’t easy for beginners, and forces they can’t seem to control keep tripping them up: sexual appetite, personal insecurities, fear of discovery, and more. They need clarity. They need courage. Just as they’re on the verge of finding both, a vindictive act of jealousy sends one of them to jail. All their hard-won victories are in danger of falling to dust. The only way to save what they have is to recognize it for what it is...and fight for its integrity.
Review: Once again, the superior quality of KZ Snow's writing talent shines through in this very touching, heart-gripping, romantic drama. Zero Knot is a coming-of-age, coming-out, edgy and realistic romance that is heavily laced with richly textured characters and powerful, thought-provoking messaging.
Jess and Mig (aka Dylan) have been friends most of their lives. Both eighteen and fresh out of high school, their hormones are raging. When they realize that they both are crushing on each other, they have to tackle a number of obstacles in order to be together. First and foremost among their challenges are their obtuse parents, who do not seem to even have a clue that their sons are gay.
Jess also has a mouthy little brother (my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE CHARACTER in the story!!!) named Jared. His nickname is Red, and he is quick to blurt out everything that adults are too polite to say. This character alone would have made this book worthy of a five-star rating. Be prepared, though, because you're going to fall in love with this kid, and then you'll be bawling your eyes out. I don't want to ruin this with a spoiler, but the boy goes through a trauma. If KZ had decided to kill the kid off I'd have had to hunt her down and strangle her.
The love story was absolutely beautiful. The characters were sweet--at times sugary sweet--but flawed at the same time. I believed them and I believed IN them. I loved how the author captured the angsty emotion-driven dynamic of their first-love relationship. There was also a major hurdle thrown in, in the form of a jealous, wannabe lover. Brandon, the snarky, shallow, know-it-all, fashion queen socialite epitomized everything that I always hated about the gay community when I was 18 and emerging from my own closet. I thought he made the perfect villain.
Well, it comes as no surprise that KZ delivered another book which I now have to add to my all-time-favorites list. It's an amazing story--beautifully written and incredibly memorable. If I could give it ten stars, I would.
Review by Jeff