I checked Amazon the other day for new reviews and found one for The Summer Boy. It’s interesting to see the commonalities when a few have accumulated. See what you think.
I read this book in two days. I had to find out who the murderer was, how the young lovers survived, and how the various characters were going to deal with all the triumphs and adversities of their summer. It's a tale of friendship(the long-lasting kind), love, hatred, deceit - all told through the lens of a long, hot Texas summer. I felt like I was right there with them, sweat and all, while trying to do the right thing and grow up all at the same time. Highly recommend it for a good summer read, or a mid-winter read if you need the reminder of summertime!
An entertaining page-turner about teenagers coming of age in Texas. Two Dallas city boys -- rancher wannabes -- hire on as summer help on a ranch near Kerrville in the hill country. As they learn the ranching trade and lifestyle, they also face the challenges of emerging manhood, young love, sexual discovery, a dysfunctional family, and, well, a murder or two. The author adroitly portrays the adolescent awkwardness and angst of his protagonist, Jesse, and also his grit and courage. Jesse begins the summer as a naive boy, but arcs into a young man by August. His love interest, Lola, compels as a sensual teenager challenged by her own emerging sexuality, her abusive mother, and her lecherous uncle. She also grows through the summer,as her competitive spirit spurs her to become an independent young adult in spite of her over-controlling mother.
I read this book because I enjoy Mr. Rhamey's writing blog, "Flogging the Quill," in which he advocates for high tension, precise writing, and compelling action to motivate the reader to turn the page. "The Summer Boy" does exactly that. I couldn't stop turning the pages until the end.
I've read several of Rhamey's books, and one thing I love about them is his genre-bending style. In "Summer Boy" he gives us a murder mystery, a teen romance, and a coming-of-age story, all woven together with effortless skill. Rhamey has created a believable cast of characters--some heroic, some disturbed--whom readers come to really care about, plot twists rich with lethal pitch forks and black widows, and all of it supported by a back-drop of real-life Texas ranch experience--like how to prepare cactus for cow consumption during dry spells.
The main character Jesse's crush on Lola brought back my own teenage longings--minus the murder--without being sappy. A pleasant surprise was that Jesse's evolution over the course of the novel emerged not only from his encounter with first love and ranch life, but also from his challenging relationship to the jealous and dangerous ranch foreman, Buddy.
I read Rhamey's novels quickly, shaving off sleep time in order to finish them. "Summer Boy" was no exception. Highly recommended!
A warm and engrossing tale of growing up--Texas style. You'll find yourself rifling through the pages, as you sweat through the oppressive Texas heat along with Jesse, a young man struggling to survive his summer job as a newly hired ranchhand in 1950's Texas.
Jesse's journey to discover who he is as a man, and find his place in the world, is complicated by his budding relationship with a young woman, Lola, who he can't keep his eyes off of, a dangerous loose cannon of a co-worker, Buddy, who is bent on forcing Jesse to leave the ranch by any means necessary, Lola's cruel, controlling mother, who disapproves of her daughter's relationship with Jesse and a murder that looms large over everything that happens that summer at the ranch.
This novel will tug on your heartstrings. Great fun and powerfully written. Don't miss out.
Sixteen-year-old Jesse takes a summer job on a Texas ranch, and encounters a series of tests and challenges that a kid without his guts and gumption would never survive. From water mocassins to flame throwers, from the rancher's knock-out daughter Lola to her malevolent witch of a mother, from one dead body to another, Jesse must navigate the perils like a modern, younger Odysseus. There is mythic quality to this initiation journey. At the same time the book is so rich in realistic detail that you realize by the end that you've learned a great deal about ranch life in the hinterlands. I was fascinated throughout.