Wow. This is book four in the We Were Young series, that follow Rene & Billy who are are part of the Ojibway First nation reserve at Thunder Bay. I won’t get technical and explain about First Nations and their reserves, Billy does it much better in the guest post lol.
Billy and Rene come from opposite sides of the Reserve; Rene is the son of the Chief of the reserve. Whereas Billy is less fortunate and comes from a family of drunks and addicts.
The series has followed these two guys through hell and back. They have dealt with so many issues that young people must deal with. Maggie really manages to capture the problems young people face either on the reserves but all so in the wider world. She is a master of creating authentic emotions, actions, and reactions. Billy and Rene deal with their issues very differently from each other. Billy faces his problems head on and often a confrontational hot-headed attitude. Whereas Rene is a thinker and takes his time to face his feelings.
Their attraction was pretty much instant, though Billy had to grind Rene down. And slowly pull Rene out of the closet.
They have dealt with Alcohol and drug abuse, Physical abuse, homophobia, and peer pressure. Rene has also had a tough time coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out. On top of that they have had to abide strict rules from Rene’s parents (and Billy’s foster parents) which included Rene moving away for a while to separate them until Billy comes of age.
In this book the boys are reunited as Rene moves home to finish his studies in the local collage. And with Billy turning 18, they slowly start to build their relationship as a couple for real.
Rene accompanies Billy on the annual sun dance, believing he is supporting Billy through the ceremony and his believes. But he also finds out a lot of things about himself and this helps him deal with coming out.
They both have goals they are aiming to achieve to help their reserve. We see both guys mature in this book, Billy is learning to step back and think things through, and Rene is learning to open with his thoughts.
I really love these guys and this series, which must be my top young adult series. The guys are so authentic as are the situations they go through. This is lot all flowers and feathers romance, but a coming of age journey between two young men that are destined to be together. Each bringing their unique personalities that blend to form a formidable force that together they can face anything that life throws at them.
I love learning their culture and beliefs and thank Maggie for sharing her culture with us through the books she writes.
I am so pleased that the guys are finally getting together and hope we get at least one more book to see them in action, helping their reserve through their chosen professions.
I really recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a journey of self-discovery, as you get to see both characters growth at every stage of their mid to late teens. And the strength and belief they have in each other is amazing.