Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How To Repair A Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis

From the first word I fell in love with this the last word I loved this book.

When you read the volumes of books that fans of this genre read in a year, things start muddling together, there are books that you love, and there are books you REALLY love...BLOWN AWAY though that's hard to come by. Happens very rarely...But then there are stories that come out of left field and bitch slap you in the nose and go Hey come here and get to know a little thing called PRIME QUALITY WRITING!!! This was no amateur hour folks, this was serious fucking writing. Like for reals. Best LGBT Young Adult book I've read this year, and in my all time top five. No fooling.

So Brandon is a high school graduate and in the summer off before college, he is setting off on a trip to hit up all the conventions for his favorite show "Starsetter" with his best friend Bec and with his co-vlogger (and the boy he is desperately in love with) Abel. They are GEEKS ,I mean they LIVE for this stuff. The show's main characters the Starsetter's Captain Cadmus, and his android sidekick Sim are like Brandon and Abel's fantasy men, perfect in every way. They know EVERTHING about this show, deconstructing everything that happens is like an obsession, but you know that they hate? They fucking hate that all the slashers have shipped them into some romance...I mean it's RIDICULOUS! The might be gay boys, but they are not about to turn the awesomest duo in television history into a cutesy couple just 'cause! They are awesome supeheroes that are to be worshipped for their awesomeness and not because they might be DOING IT!

So they set off on the tour of conventions to dispel the myth that in the last scene of the last episode of the latest season Cadmus and Sim get together...They challenge the Cadsim slashers that they will put all that shit to rest over the summer. They know they are GEEKY and in Abel's words STONE COLD CRACKERS WITH A SIDE OF CRAZY FRIES...But not EVERYONE is gay. So they must do away with all this Cadsim shippers insanity. 

This feud between Brandon, Abel and the fandom ensues some of the most deliciously AMAZING humor I have read. OMG it was BRILLIANT!!!

There is also the fact that Brandon really is truly in love with Abel (even if Abel has a "boyfriend"), but how he feels is all muddled up with the guilt he carries for being gay. He is out to his family, but they are devout Catholics and even though they want to support him, things are different. They don't want this for him. In their hearts they believe that Brandon is making bad choices, damming choices. He loves his family, and even his family priest who is trying to help him "rectify" his feelings...He is wrecked. Just wrecked and it is messing with his head and his heart...But he wants Abel. He loves him. Abel is like the sun, bright and makes him smile. He's funny and passionate and throws himslef in to everything. Brandon is trying to reconcile the way he is, with what he has been taught about right and wrong...It's hard. It makes him shifty, makes him hurt Abel with his indecision. But he tries to be braver, to move past his guilt, because in his heart and in his brain, he KNOWS that he deserves to be happy...To be happy with a boy. To let himself love a boy that loves him back.

This part the part of Brandon struggling with his faith and what he knows is right for gutwrenching, but DAMN so well done. The author cuts us no slack here and it's FANTASTIC. No 18 year old boy can dismiss years of faith, community, the love of his parents, no matter how much he's into his boyfriend...But Brandon fights it hard, because he knows he deserves happiness.

So in that summer of utter unrepentant geekdom, Brandon and Abel challenge each other, the fandom, see the differnces between the characters they idolize and the actual real and flawed humans who bring them to life, learn about friendship, love, acceptance, patience...FREEDOM...ACCEPTANCE.

This book was such an amazing little thing, it just steamrolled me. First of all the premise of these boys being extreme fans, so devoted. But also having the sense of humor to laugh at themselves for their geekyness was truly delightful, as someone who just got home from a weekend in New Mexico of hanging out with 400 other M/M romance devotees, this book resonated with me COMPLETELY and honestly made me laugh my ass off, because I saw myself and so many of my online friends in this book so many times. It was a fucking DELIGHT. So wonderfully witty. But also with such sobering moments...Brandon and Abel learn about consequences, even by what they say and do online...Are personally affected by the recklessness of what people can carelessly do and say from behing a keyboard...People can act like there is no accountability on the net, like what we say or do is not REAL...It is, it can be. 

The secondary characters in this book were amazing, the online ones, Bec the best friend, the "REAL" people behind the show, even the parents, they were all layered and wonderful

Mostly Brandon and Abel have a wonderful summer...Of love, and friendship, moments of geekful perfection. They grow up a little, a lot actually, they have hard moments, they hurt each other, and they fall in love...And we get to have that summer with them. 

It really is an amazing summer these boys have. I am so FUCKING HAPPY to have found them in the net somewhere, and to have gone on this adventure with them.

I laughed my ass off, cried until I heaved, cringed, nodded along, smiled like a loon, LOVED EVERY SINGLE WORD. PERFECT. 

This book was perfect for me.

JC Lillis wherever you are you just made a COLD STONE CRACKHEAD of a fan out of me. I do hope there is more from you soon.


How To Repair a Mechanical Heart is for Sale (for $3.99 which is CRAZY!!!) on


  1. oh MAN i love your review, so fucking spot on!

  2. Thank you baby :) we lucked out spotting this book man!