Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

The Vincent Boys  - Abbi Glines I read a lot of contemporary over the summer and want to highlight a few books, even though they aren't Speculative Fiction. The first of these is The Vincent Boys, a steamy read centred on Ashton Gray, and her relationships with the cousins Sawyer and Beau Vincent.The Vincent Boys is primarily about cheating. Not a nice topic to read about, but it's handledwell by Abbi Glines. There is a lot of time spent getting readers familiar with Ashton's head space: the pressure she feels as the Pastor's daughter, the way the town treats her relationship with their golden boy Sawyer, and how everyone will see her relationship with Beau. None of this stop her from cheating on Sawyer, but, even in this clich├ęd scenario of Pastor's daughter gone bad, there is a lot of heart. The family drama added into the novel added to its appeal because it gave the characters grounding and made them feel more real.Did I like Ashton? No. But I'm not sure I was meant to - she is cheating on her boyfriend after all. Her relationship with Sawyer has changed her, she's become a goody-two-shoes and does things the admits are against the grain: volunteering her time at a nursing home, visiting Sawyer's grandmother before her own, not swearing and being extra friendly to everyone. All this because she, and the rest of the town, sees Sawyer as a paragon of perfection, and Ashton feels like she has to work hard to be worthy of him. But Beau, who has known her for just as long as Sawyer, sees the real Ashton, which is what attracts her to him (that, and he's smoking hot). I actually didn't like Sawyer or Beau in this book: Sawyer is aiding the drastic changes Ashton makes for him and doesn't think it's weird at all, and Beau betrays his cousin and best friend almost without a thought.What I did like, though, is that the cast of The Vincent Boys is varied and no one person is wholly good or bad. Sawyer is shown to have an ugly side, and Beau is proven to be honest, despite his bad boy image, and we know Ashton has a hidden side as well. One of the most interesting characters is Ashton's father, the Pastor, who doesn't practise what he preaches. I think it was a huge step for him to admit that he was judging Beau based on his mother and father, exactly what he preaches in church to not do.Another note I'd like to make is for UK and AU readers: our version of the book is an extended version, with the ... steamy scenes ... described in greater detail. In fact, described in a lot of detail, racier than some of the adult romances I have read. So if you're uncomfortable with that kind of thing, you might be better off going for the US version.The Vincent Boys is an entertaining read, perfect for summer, and I enjoyed it despite being rather uncomfortable with the delicate subject matter. I can't say I sympathised greatly with any of the characters, but I liked the storyline and now the author handles it. I am looking forward to reading the next book, The Vincent Brothers, later this year, which hopefully won't be about unfaithfulness.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.