Review: Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

It only took about five pages for me to be hooked on this novel. The introduction of both characters instantly made me curious about them, and that increased steadily.

There’s been a beating. There’s been a stabbing. Nate and Cam have ended up across from each other in a deposition because of the violence that has erupted in their lives. Through the course of his deposition, Nate slowly unravels the events leading up to the violence.

Nate and Cam seem very different, but they connected quickly when they first met. Their friendship begins with a night of talking about everything: religion, families, relationships, and science. They fall asleep lying on the trampoline staring up the stars and it seems like Nate feels free and unfettered for the first time in his life.

This isn’t an ordinary book, it’s not an ordinary tale. Nate is struggling with his “parents”… his father and his Aunt who swooped in when his Mom died. She’s controlling, relentless and abusive and his father is absent at best. So, Nate’s friendships are important, perhaps the only thing that keeps him tethered.

But he’s not struggling solely with his home life, he’s struggling with his feelings for Cam. During an ill-fated New Year’s Eve party, Nate and Cam share a sexual experience that short-circuits Nate’s brain. He pushes Cam away because he’s incapable of dealing with the emotion the encounter brings up. Nate has all the arguments for why it’s wrong to feel anything for Cam…religion, he’s straight, it’s wrong, it’s nothing.

Things begin to fall apart for Nate and then escalate, spiraling closer and closer to the final act of violence that will change everything between them forever. This story is a pretzel-twist of pleasure, exploration, and fear of things that are too big to comprehend.

This is one of the most unique books I’ve read in a very long time. These characters are written so remarkably that I couldn’t help feeling like I knew them… as though I’d been allowed a window to their minds.

The prose is sparing and yet beautiful. There are some lovely moments captured from the early days of friendship and the intensity of growing emotion. This story made me angry, and it made me cry and I would read it again in a heartbeat. There are twists, things that hurt because you just don’t see them coming. And it’s real… it’s very real. This is young people being amazing and flawed and fucked up and perfect.

This book may not be for the faint of heart, but it should be read. This book should have the hell read out of it. I can’t think of a better word to use but to continue to say how “real” this story is.

There aren’t enough stars in the night sky to rate this book properly.

Thank you Page Street Publishing.
I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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