Always Joey by Adelhardt H.Free Online Fiction
Blurb: Joey is forced to pair up with Jimmy for a school assignment. Too embarrassed to be seen with the school's biggest social outcast (who is also rumored to be gay), Joey agrees to go over to Jimmy's house to work on the project. Away from the scrutiny of their peers,
Joey finds that he actually enjoys Jimmy's company. But Joey quickly realizes that Jimmy has developed a crush on him, and although Joey likes the attention, he doesn't want to lead Jimmy on. Will Jimmy's strong feelings ruin their newly formed friendship?
Review: Jimmy is a seventeen-year-old boy who is ostracized at school because he's rumored to be gay. He hasn't had any friends in three years. Others perceive him to be sarcastic and mean, but that's purely a defense mechanism. He's very sensitive and longs for someone special in his life.
Joey is a popular kid, and like everyone else at school, avoids Jimmy like the plague. Much to his dismay, he's forced to partner with Jimmy for a project, and decides to work with him at Jimmy's house to avoid being seen with him in public. That kid could ruin his reputation.
Over the next several weeks, Joey begins to see the cracks in Jimmy's armor. He sees the boy who is desperately lonely and trying to latch onto whatever kindness Joey has to offer. He realizes how much he cares for Jimmy and wants to be his friend. He accepts that Jimmy is gay and that Jimmy has a crush on him; he is flattered by the attention. He even goes so far as to allow flirting between them, although he makes it clear to Jimmy that he's straight.
It's heartbreaking to see Jimmy so desperate for affection that he'll take whatever he can get, even if it means crushing on a straight boy. At the same time, it's heartwarming to see Joey befriend him and be so affectionate and comfortable with him, even though he just wants to be friends.
Jimmy gives Joey much cause for self-reflection, as Joey struggles to accept newfound feelings towards his friend.
This is a beautiful coming out story. Both characters are really sweet. If you enjoy young adult fiction with sweet, intimate moments, I highly recommend this one for you!
Review by Madison