The Battle for Jericho, Gene Gant
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Family
** This review contains slight spoilers. ***
The Battle for Jericho by Gene Gant was a really solid story. It had a good plot and some solid characters, but I can’t give this book any more than three stars. I do have my reasons for this; one of them being it was such a depressing book.
From the beginning you get the feel of the story. Jericho and his friend Mac decide to vandalise the local ‘fags’ bungalow. Once they get there things soon escalate and it becomes apparent that it was going to go very wrong. Dylan, the ‘fag’ ended up injured. Instead of feeling good about it, Jericho felt remorse and went to apologise. That helped me to find a place where I could like Jericho, even if it was just a bit.
Things were a bit rocky after that. Jericho decides to ‘go gay’. Those are his own words and at that point I was a bit angry. He did not seem to grasp that it wasn’t a choice. But he was trying to embrace everything, and eventually, he did. He had a girlfriend, Lissandra, and that was another thing that bugged me slightly. I would call it cheating, where others would not. Cheating for me is a big no, no and for people wondering why I am giving it three stars, I will tell you.
Hutch was amazing. For me he was my favourite character. I had a lot of sympathy for him. He struggled at home and out in the world. The boy he liked was dating a girl. I did like him for saying what he said during the first ‘date’. To say Hutch put up with a lot was an understatement. His issues became clearer in the book, but I admired him for being brave. His presence in the book was the thing I loved about this book.
As a couple, Jericho and Hutch went from okay to amazing in the space of a chapter. I was iffy about how I would feel about them, but when they had sex for the first time… I just felt a connection to them as a couple. As a side note I want to point out that Jericho is not gay, he’s bi and that may or may not make a difference.
I’m not a kiss and tell kind of guy. But I will say that Hutch and I lost our virginity that night.
It was the most beautiful experience of my life. And afterward, when I lay there with Hutch falling asleep in my arms, I didn’t regret it one bit.
As I said at the beginning of my review, this book is depressing. For a YA novel I found it more depressing than I would normally read. The best friend, Mac, and the man in the beginning, Dylan, were the only two characters apart from Hutch who I really liked. There are gay bashings, child abuse and the death of children. Added to that both boys were almost disowned by their parents and Jericho’s parents sickened me. But when religion comes in that happens more often than not.
Looking back over the book, there were signs of both boys having some sort of abuse in the home. Jericho’s would not have been as obvious, but a parent grabbing his or her child and talking down to them when they have a question, is abuse. It was sad how that worked out. Normally, I like to see one of the MC’s having a supportive family/relative. In this, there isn’t one on either side.
The ending fit the story and gave hope. I was disappointed that it ended without some sort of reconciliation between Jericho and his parents. I would have liked Dylan to appear again too. Another thing that would have been nice would have been to see Mac’s dad. He sounded like a decent man. Religion was mentioned for his family too, but he wasn’t a bigot and that could have lightened this story.
And I know who I am now. I’m a guy with lots of friends and parents who believe I’m going to hell but love me anyway. I’m a guy who’s attracted to both girls and boys, and who now has a great thing going with a great guy.
And I think that makes me… blessed.
I give The Battle for Jericho three stars. It would be less but as I said, Hutch was a reason for me to love something about this, so because there was something I loved, I’m giving it three. I recommend it for people who would have no issues with is mentioned above.
This book was provided by Harmony Ink Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.