Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: Wallflower by Heidi Belleau

Taking A Chance
Title: Wallflower by Heidi Belleau
Series: Rear Entrance Video #2
Genre: M/M Romance, Contemporary, Gender Bender
Published October 21st 2013 by Riptide Publishing
Length: 187 pages

Rating: 3 Stars
Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Blurb:

"This gamer geek has a lacy little secret." Art student and MMORPG addict Robert Ng has always been a loner, but he's recently made it his goal to make more (IRL) friends. Which is how he winds up working nights at Rear Entrance Video, shilling sketchy porn and blowup dolls as a favor to his roommate. The longer he works there, though, the more he realizes he'll never be truly happy until he becomes the person he is online: his female persona, Bobby.

Bobby is cuter and funnier than Rob is, and a thousand times more popular with boys. Becoming Bobby IRL presents its own set of challenges, though . . . especially when you're sitting on the fence between two genders, only one of which has caught the attention of your seriously cute customer/classmate.

Dylan Ford is a six-foot Inuit comic book artist who always says what's on his mind, and screw anyone who doesn't like it. As rough as he appears, though, Dylan has a soft spot for Rob. But will out-and-proud Dylan still want Rob if he's not all man?

Purchase Link: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/wallflower-rear-entrance-video-2

Review:
3.5 Stars rounded to 3

Bobby, or Bob, is a shy, geeky art student that works at a porn rental shop part time. Online, he plays a female character and talks in a girl voice. At school, he meets Dylan, who rented porn from him and is attracted to him. As Bob experiments with girl clothes and make up, he gets bolder as Bobby but hides Bob more often. He needs to find a balance between the two genders before someone discovers his secrets.

Even though I can understand Bobby's self-struggle and deceit, I don't really like him. He's not really likeable. He gets jealous easily and is very self-depreciating. When his handsome roommate (who he has a crush on) brings a cute Asian girl home, Bobby gets super jealous and compares himself to the girl. He uses other people as his guinea pigs for his gender experimentation until he gets sexually harassed at the porn video rental shop. However, I love that Bobby apologizes to people he lied to and reveals his gender identity.

I don't understand why Dylan is attracted to Bobby and I feel like Dylan's story is missing from this book. Dylan is gay, not bi and that adds to Bobby's insecurities about whether Dylan will still want him if he's more Bobby and Bob. The story is definitely more focused on Bobby, his transformation, and self discovery.

Overall, this is an interesting book filled with odd and interesting moments during Bobby's journey to self discovery. This is a great novel about discovering ones gender and blurring the lines of socially constructed concepts of gender. Fans of gender-bending stories should give this a try.

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