Book Reviews

On Chocorua (Trailblazer 1) by Robin Reardon at IAM Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / New Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 14-March-2019

Book Blurb

A mountain. A blizzard. A young man new to hiking and to love, making mistakes in both.

First year of college is a great time to re-invent yourself. Nathan Bartlett takes the opportunity very seriously--maybe a little too seriously. And he makes mistakes.

His mistakes? Falling for a straight guy who reminds him of his beloved older brother. Getting too invested in the substance abuse disorders of two other students. And climbing a mountain in a snowstorm for all the wrong reasons.

But he also develops friendships that will be his for life. He faces his inner demons and comes up with a plan. And he realizes that answers to important questions are seldom waiting on the surface but must be worked for, or struggled for, or suffered for--and sometimes all three.

Nathan is a trailblazer on his own journey. His success will be measured not by how well he follows someone else's path, but by whether he can forge his own. This first book in a series of three novels gets Nathan started on a journey that will teach him about himself, about life, and about love.

Walk with him.

Book Review

“Wisdom comes from making mistakes, having the courage to face them, and make adjustments moving forward based upon the knowledge acquired through those experiences.” ~ Ken Poirot

Although Nathan Bartlett, of ‘On Chocorua’ by Robin Reardon, has had a lot of sadness come into his life, he is blessed with a loving family. His grandfather, mother, and father were killed when he was just a baby. Nathan, his sister Nina, and his brother Neil were raised by his gram. Neil was more like a father figure than a brother to Nathan and his sister. This makes for some odd dynamics in their relationship. Nathan grows up believing his brother can do no wrong and aspires to, not emulate everything he does, but come up with ways to make him proud of him. Nathan loves his brother but knows, even when young, that he can’t be him. For one thing, Nathan is gay and, for a long time, Neil is the only one who knows. As close as they are, Nathan is not sure exactly what Neil thinks of him.

While in high school, Neil is afraid to come out. He is so unsure of himself he keeps quiet, never dating, pretending that he is too busy with work or school. He doesn’t want to face the ridicule that he is sure would follow if he told anyone. When he goes to college, he decides it is time to get over his foolish, childish fears and become his own person. He doesn’t flaunt his gayness, because he is still afraid of rejection, but he tells his roommate and is relieved when he is cool with it. Being short of money, Nathan gets a job in the cafeteria and quickly falls in lust with Daniel, his very straight boss. Daniel doesn’t seem to notice, but they do become friends. In a weird way, Nathan looks up to him, sort of how he does Neil and wants to impress him, so much in fact, that when Daniel wants him to go with him on a hiking trip, Nathan agrees, even though he suspects it’s not a good idea and he is right. It almost ends in disaster for both of them.

On a whim, Nathan takes an acting class and meets the illusive Alden. Alden is gay and quickly figures out that Nathan is too. When Alden realizes that Nathan is a “baby gay” he’s more cautious, not wanting to take advantage of him. Alden plays pull me push me for a while until one night he confesses that he has realized that any relationship they may have would be more than just f*ck buddies. They become deeply involved and things are wonderful for a while. When Nathan’s roommate becomes hooked on drugs while pledging for a fraternity, Nathan confides in Alden who suddenly becomes very quiet. Eventually, he tells Nathan that he is a recovering addict who spent the last year in Canada in rehab. Nathan feels like the rug has been pulled from under him; he tries to rationalize his instinctive fear by thinking that Alden loves him too much to ever want to do that again. Unfortunately, he is wrong.  When Alden goes home for Christmas, he gets hooked on drugs again and never returns. Nathan is heartbroken; he is angry and hurt and feels betrayed. He questions if what he and Alden had meant anything if he could so easily go back to drugs and throw it all away.

My review barely scratches the surface of this well written rollercoaster of a story. I have to admit crying and feeling heartbroken right along with Nathan more than once. Nathan’s journey is off to a rough start and gets even rougher. There is a lot of angst, sadness, and heartbreak in his trip to maturity, but I have faith that he will endure. Thanks, Robin, for a deep, thought-provoking read.







DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 299 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 02-February-2019
Price $2.99 ebook, $13.99 paperback
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