Title: Last of the Summer Tomatoes
Author: Sherrie Henry
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Kyle Jackowski, typical sullen emo teen, struggles to find a way to deal with his sexuality and finds himself in trouble with the law… again. But instead of being sent to a juvenile detention center like he expected, he is given a chance to commute his sentence by working on a farm for the summer.
Enter Sam, son of the farm owners, who shows Kyle what he feels is perfectly normal and that he doesn’t have to hide from his feelings. In turn, Sam’s parents show Kyle that his abusive stepfather and battered mother are not the norm. With their love and support, Kyle finds his place in the world—by Sam’s side.
Review: A sweet and charming story of a gentle young man’s journey of self discovery.
Kyle was so innocent and naive it was at times hard to believe he was from New York. He had been abused and neglected for so long he had very little experience with making choices, mostly because he had never been allowed to. He truly believed that it was how the world was. I loved that he was such an artist, the way that he saw beauty in things that most people no longer notice. It was a pleasure to watch him gain confidence and begin to accept himself as he shook off the fear he had lived under for so long.
Sam was so sweet and patient. I loved that he didn’t try to pressure Kyle or force his healing along. He wanted Kyle however he was, which in many ways sped up the process. He was such a great combination of vulnerable youth and mature wisdom. Being a year older and coming from a healthy home he was able to understand and help Kyle through the process of accepting his sexuality and living his life openly, without paralyzing fear.
Sam’s parents were wonderful. They were patient and loving with Kyle and helped him so much. They gave him a safe place to come out and come into his own as an adult. By providing an example of a healthy family and accepting him before he even came to their dairy farm, they gave him a home. I loved the moments he shared with Glenda.
It was refreshing to read a YA story that felt like it was written for that age group. There was a lot of soul searching and a sense that there was no need to rush into sex or adulthood, but to allow things to come naturally in their time.
I enjoyed this story of young love, standing up for yourself, what you believe in and finding your place in the world. Some very difficult and painful things were sensitively and sweetly dealt with. I really hope that these guys make it together.
Reviewed by Nina