precious_boy by K.Z. Snow
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Short Story (142 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Rosemary
It was just an amateur porn video, like thousands of others on the Internet. Like hundreds Jonathan Wright had seen and hundreds more he'd ignored. He hadn't intended to watch it, but he gives in to his curiosity. When he sees the lithe, blond young man who's doing naughty things with a bearish, older man, he's seduced… and feels like a pervert afterward. The youth in the video seems a little too young, despite the fact he runs his own escort service. Worse yet, Jon gets the nagging feeling he's seen "Justin Time," aka precious_boy, before.
When Jon takes a chance and meets Justin in a Chicago hotel room, Jon's past, present, and possibly his future begin to converge in alarming and confusing ways. There's no escaping the resulting dilemma: Jon must decide just how involved he wants to get with a sweet kid whose life has turned sour… a decision made more complex by a surprising connection to a lover from Jon's past.
precious¬_boy is a page turning short story, and K.Z.Snow easily engages the reader with a well-written and unique plot.
Jonathan Wright is both captivated and repelled by the porn video starring Justin Time aka precious_boy. He is instantly drawn in by the young man’s blatant sexuality, but Justin’s obvious youth is what ultimately repels him as Jon becomes more and more certain that Justin is most likely underage.
His curiosity draws him back to the video where he discovers he vaguely recognizes the young man from somewhere but he is unable to pin down exactly where. When it finally dawns on Jon exactly who the young man most likely is, he sets up a meeting which in turn confirms his suspicions. Justin is Ethan who Jon knew as a child, but has not seen in over seven years.
Jon’s decision to help the young man escape a life in the porn industry has Jon confronting a lover from his long ago past, and he is forced to come to terms with his attraction to the much younger, but mature beyond his years, Ethan.
Jon, Ethan and the supporting cast are well-drawn, three-dimensional, realistic characters. Jon is twenty eight, whose disillusionment with love is illustrated by his meaningless casual one night stands. Ethan is about to turn eighteen, and while he is mature and wise beyond his years, he has the naiveté found in most young adults. I found Jon’s desire to “save” Ethan from his much older manipulative boyfriend (or more aptly, pimp) believable and touching, and his turmoil over his attraction to the much younger Ethan added a great authenticity to his character. While Ethan has a great deal of maturity, his youth and inexperience with life are apparent in his attitude that there is nothing wrong with selling his body for sex, and his belief that leaving the porn industry will be easy.
While I found precious_boy an engrossing novel, I found myself very conflicted by some plot elements. There is a connection between Ethan and Jon that I cannot reveal because it would be a major spoiler, but it plays a pivotal role in the storyline, and it is the first area of conflict for me. I also found myself greatly troubled by the age difference between Jon and Ethan. Put the two events together along with some of Jon’s actions with another character, and the result leaves me with a very uneasy feeling about Jon and Ethan’s romance. It is a testament to K.Z. Snow’s skillful writing that I was so intensely drawn into precious_boy despite my misgivings about Jon and Ethan’s relationship.
Overall, precious_boy is a compelling novel with a unique storyline and an unexpected plot twist. The protagonists are likeable and sympathetic, and K.Z. Snow is a five star author. I will definitely be reading more of this author’s work in the future.