Review: Lock & West by Alexander C. Eberhart is beautiful and painful

The short blurb bit: Lock isn’t your average guy. He’s socially awkward, honest to a fault and anxious – oh so anxious. He counts when he’s nervous and he’s nervous a lot.

“It’s complicated,” he interrupts then adds, “Like, beyond complicated. Like, solving a Rubik’s cube while hurtling off a cliff and knitting your own parachute.” -Lock

This book is complicated. Lock & West both have their issues, they are flawed humans and have more than the usual challenges in their lives. When they meet, home-schooled Lock and out-and-proud West connect. Then they have a sexual encounter at a party that seems to initiate a lot of changes. Things in both of their lives begin to unravel and force them apart again and again.

There is a lot of emotional upheaval in this story, a lot of pain but it is beautifully written.

My thoughts bit: I’m a bit late to the game on this one, but seriously this one was worth the wait as far as I’m concerned.

When Lock & West meet they probably need each other. The thing is, it’s going to take them a really long time to figure out if there’s even a way to build a bridge between them.

Lock is dealing with the loss of both of his parents (For very different reasons), he’s basically parenting his little brother, running the household and all of that as he tries to fit into the world of school. There has been so much loss in Lock’s life but he just keeps trying with his honesty and his steadfastness.

West touched my heart. He’s lost in a life that he’s completely lost control over, and the one way that he can gain some control is hurting him. Eberhart wrote him well. West has made an art of being the competent, popular, gay guy that everyone loves while he is eroding on the inside. He is in a horrible position at home, a horrible position in his own mind and he keeps finding ways to put himself in more horrible positions when he socializes. West is full of hurt and doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. He’s a mess and, frankly, who wouldn’t be? Being a young person is horrible enough without the kinds of things that are happening to him.

The adults in the book are interesting. They’re flawed and far-from-ideal but I liked that. I can’t help it, but I enjoy reading books that are messy and uncomfortable because that’s how life is. Eberhart writes about real life and it’s refreshing.

Some parts of the book were very difficult to read. Things that we need to read are often difficult to read. I want more people to read this book.

The warnings bit: There are a lot of situations and discussions in this book that could be problematic for readers: descriptions of sexual assault and attempted sexual assault, descriptions of eating disorders, alcoholism, physical abuse, homophobia, mentions internalized homophobia


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