Title: Desert Star
Series: The Desert Series #2
Author: Lisette Brodey
Published: November 12, 2014
Publisher: Saberlee Books
Word Count: 100,000
Genre: YA Paranormal
Content Warning: Mild sexual content and non-gratuitous profanity
Recommended Age: 14+
Larsen Davis isn’t afraid to stand up to those who bully him, but in a two-against-one situation at Mystekal High, it’s never easy. When classmate River Dalworth witnesses the abuse and intervenes, the two seniors become good friends. Larsen explains that he’s fighting another battle at home: his own mother, Raylene, bullies him for being gay.
When Larsen meets River’s mother, Arielle, and learns she is overseeing the renovation of the Desert Theater, he shares his dream for a career on stage. Soon, Arielle offers Larsen a job as her assistant, but Raylene is dead set against the idea of her son doing what she considers “gay work.” After Raylene gets a new boyfriend, Reggie, the bad situation at home worsens and Larsen has no choice but to leave.
Now working at the Desert Theater, Larsen feels the unearthly presence of someone in the long-abandoned theater. Meanwhile, as the theater nears completion, a talent show is scheduled for opening night. As it becomes more evident that the theater may have a ghost, it also comes to light that someone may be sabotaging the renovation and the show. Is the ghost real or just the handiwork of someone with a grudge?
Opening night at the Desert Theater sets the stage for a crime, never-imagined reunions, long-awaited explanations, and otherworldly miracles.
Larsen’s eyes began to water. “My father died when I was eleven. My mom says that the lack of a good male role model is what made me gay. She’s clueless. You know, Riv, when I was ten, my dad took me to the mountains one day. We were just sitting there, looking at the view, and he told me, ‘Son, when you grow up, there are gonna be some people who will bust your balls for being different. But take it from your old man, it’s okay to be whoever you are.’ ” “So your father knew you were gay?” Larsen wiped away a lone tear. “Yeah, he knew before I did. And I think he knew he was sick. That’s why he told me. I’m sure of it.” “Oh, damn, dude. I’m sorry. What did he die from?” Looking right, then left, Larsen paused before answering. “Some kind of lymphoma. My mother won’t talk about it.” “Sorry, Lars. I really am. So, what’s up with her?” Larsen looked in the distance and saw Jax and Antonio jump into a black Mustang where the driveway to the school met the main highway. “Let’s go, Riv. You don’t need to stand here and watch me hold the building up.” River laughed as he and Larsen started walking away from the school, toward the large expanse of desert where several students were still milling about, waiting for rides, or just talking. “I’ll tell you, if you can hold the building up, you can take care of those two clowns.” Larsen frowned. “Yeah, maybe. Anyway, my mom, well, she’s embarrassed to have a gay son. Tells me all the time that it’s hard enough being black, so what the hell did I have to go and be gay for. I keep telling her that I had as much choice in being gay as I did being black. But she’s not buying that. She told me she’s gonna squeeze the gay right out of me one day.” “Yeah, right. C’mon, come over to my house. Hang with me for a while. I live about a mile down the road, off to the right.” “I live about a mile and a half in the other direction. Oh, man, Riv. What if someone sees us walking to your house together?” “Then it means their eyeballs are in good operating condition. C’mon.” Surprised but pleased, Larsen walked alongside River. “You’re a pretty good guy.” River was embarrassed. “I’m okay. Tell me about your mom.” “She works as a waitress in Palm Desert. She goes in before I get home from school and gets off work around ten-thirty.” “She’s not around to cook dinner for you?” Larsen sighed. “No. I eat mostly frozen dinners. Sometimes on the weekend she cooks up a pot of something and leaves it for me to heat up. Or I cook a little something myself. But that’s not the worst part, Riv. My mom picks up men all the time. And she doesn’t know them that long before she brings them home. She says she’s doing it for me. Wants me to meet ‘real men.’ They stick around for a couple of weeks and dump her.” “Wow, dude. That’s some lame shit.” Larsen picked up a small rock and threw it as far as he could. “She told me the last guy dumped her because he couldn’t sleep in the house with a homosexual in the next room. What kind of idiot thinks that gay people are attracted to just anyone of the same sex? Or that we’re all sexual perverts? Makes me mad. Anyway, Mom told me I’m ruining her life.” River bit his bottom lip while Larsen’s words replayed in his head. “Sounds to me like it’s the other way around … sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.” “S’okay, Riv. I’m down with the truth. Your parents gonna have any problems if you bring me home. I don’t want to—” “No. No way. My family isn’t like that. We’ve got our own history, you know. Nobody in my house is going to judge you. This is probably TMI, but my mom split on us years ago and went to live in LA with some loser producer. It’s a long story, but she came home, stuff happened, and then she and my dad fell in love again and got remarried. When she first left, we thought she was gone for good. So you never know. We’ve even got a dog now. Maybe things will get better for you.” “Don’t think so, Riv. My mom hates me more every day.”
I absolutely loved the first book so I jumped at the chance to read this when it came out and let me tell you Lisette did not disappoint with this book either.
A great story filled with characters you can relate to and then you add in suspense, secrets, and mystery and you will be hooked from page one just like I was. Larsen is a great character whose story line is one a lot of people can connect to. I had a friend in high school whose mom didn’t understand him being gay and made such mean comments to him along with bullying him so his story line really got to me and took me back to those days and listening to him cry on my shoulder from the pain he was in. I even recommend this book to him and he loved it himself. I can’t wait for the next book in this series. Even though you can read this as a standalone I do recommend reading book 1 as we get to catch up with some of them in this book also. 5/5 Bloody Fangs
About the Author:
Back on the East Coast, she worked for many years as a freelance writer, specializing in PR and the entertainment industry. In 2010, she returned permanently to the Los Angeles area. She is the author of five novels. Her first-published book, CROOKED MOON (General Fiction) was published in 2008. Her first-written, second-published book, SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO (General Fiction) was published in 2009. MOLLY HACKER IS TOO PICKY! (Women’s Fiction), was published December 1, 2011. In October 2013, Lisette’s fourth novel, MYSTICAL HIGH, book #1 in a YA paranormal trilogy, The Desert Series, was published. In January 2013, the author edited and published a book of her mother’s poetry (written 50 years earlier) called MY WAY TO ANYWHERE by Jean Lisette Brodey.
DESERT STAR, Book 2 in The Desert Series, was published November 2014.
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- $25 Amazon Gift Card
Giveaway is Internationala Rafflecopter giveaway