Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Icarus in Flight by Hayden Thorne

I look for a new publisher every time I attend a library conference. At the American Library Association Mid-Winter conference, I discovered Prizm books.

The Prizm website states that
"Our mission is to encourage and publish gay young adult books that focus on the story, rather than on the characters being gay. Today’s young readers crave stories they can relate to, stories about their lives. Prizm Books is committed to producing great, positive books that young adults will love, and will want more of!"

Icarus in Flight by Hayden Thorne fulfills their mission. Set in the Victorian Era, the story follows the lives of two young boarding school students, James Ellsworth, and Daniel Courtney and the realization that they love each other. James takes Daniel under his wing and guides him through boarding school. Because of his father’s death, James returns to his family estate. James invites Daniel to his estate. It is during this visit that the two acknowledge their love. Daniel looks at a painting of James and “without thought, he brought the partly finished portrait to his lips, kissed it, and restored it to its rightful place…An icy rush stung Daniel at the realization that his friend could have easily have caught him kissing the miniature.” James does observe him and later pays a visit to Daniel’s room. Isabella, James’s sister, is aware of their relationship. Her disapproval runs throughout the story. Daniel tries to show interest in the opposite sex, but decides not to burden a girl with an unhappy marriage. James steadfastly refuses to enter a marriage and moves to Italy briefly where he can live more openly. Over the course of eleven years, James and Daniel grow into adulthood, go their separate ways, but never really lose each other. Hayden Thorne weaves an interesting story without the stereotypical angst of the young gay found in so many young adult novels. Her characters accept their sexuality and stay true to their love.

About the author: Hayden Thorne taught college freshman English composition. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three cats. Hayden Thorne's blog is http://haydenthorne.com

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