Book Reviews

Unicorns and Rainbow Sprinkles (Boy Next Door 2) by Lissa Kasey

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Young Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Alex on 18-September-2019

Book Blurb

Dane Karlson survived a traumatic childhood by joining a boy band and making himself famous. Only the band has fallen apart and he’s taken a real tumble through a glass table, putting himself in the hospital. On the verge of losing a battle with an eating disorder and a body dysmorphic disorder, Dane calls the only person he believes he has left to trust, former bandmate Tommy Foster. Unsure how to help, Tommy enlists the help of his new friend Bas Axelrod.

Bas is eager to escape high school life and the constant cruelty of his classmates for being out and flamboyantly gay. His parents are suing him for the inheritance his dear departed gran left him, his younger brother takes sport in bullying him, and Bas can’t help but remember one horrible night that almost ended his life. But Bas finds strength in supporting his friends, and guiding others toward a more positive path. So when Tommy calls, Bas answers.

Together Bas and Dane build a relationship of understanding, self-acceptance, and hope. Will their new friendship hold up when a girl goes missing and the entire community is looking for someone to blame?

First edition published under the title 'Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Vocal Growth 2)' and the author's pseudonym, Sam Kadence, by Harmony Ink Press, November 2014.

Book Review

I was kind of put off by the title of this exceptional book even though I had enjoyed its predecessor ‘On the Right Track’ very much. I’m happy to say that the title is quite apt for this enthralling tale of youths Dane and Bas, who find romantic love while struggling to overcome the physical manifestations of their emotional and mental angst. Although the nature of the material showcased in this story is serious, the author successfully weaves the subjects of first love and rehabilitative therapy into a joyous, romantic tale of hope and reclamation. This is a marvelous book and I’m pretty certain everyone will enjoy it. But I feel strongly that its story will inspire anyone parenting a troubled teen and more—it should be available in every high school library.

Ex-boy band member Dane was swept into the popular band Vocal Growth before he had established a strong personal identity. As such he aligned his identity with those of this band’s members, thinking them superior because they appear so capable. When the band breaks up, Dane loses his sense of self and becomes prey to the ghostly voices of abuse heaped upon him from his family environment. His attempts to counter his resulting low esteem by asserting control over his physicality turns into a vicious addiction of self-abuse and lands him in a rehabilitation clinic. When Dane reaches out to his band mate Tommy for help, Tommy sends in the openly gay Bas, who has a record of helping other teens. Dane is initially freaked out by the colorful, outspoken Bas—“being gay” is one of Dane’s biggest haunts. Will Dane accept Bas’s help? Is Dane gay? And if he isn’t, why does being around Bas make Dane feel better?

When senior high-schooler Bas is asked to help a friend of a friend, after some reluctance he agrees to try. He almost gives up on Dane at their initial meeting, something about the horrific boy sets Bas’s teeth on edge. Plus, Bas wonders if he can afford to help Dane given that his own emotional health is shaky due to the recent death of his loving grandmother. Despite his fears, Bas can’t desert Dane and tries to help him find his way. When Dane begins to blossom under Bas’s care, Bas tries to stifle his interest in the recovering boy. Having romantic thoughts about Dane is a bad idea given Dane’s history of sexual abuse. But why is Dane suddenly asking Bas about boys kissing and holding his hand every chance he gets?

This effervescent and magnanimous story puts the “heart” in heartwarming. The author does not pull any punches and sheds a no-nonsense light on the realities of recovery from abuse, but the charm of the tale outshines its sorrows through the building of an exquisite cast of supporting characters and the highly loveable leads, Dane and Bas. These two are clearly meant for each other and it was a joy to experience their journey to love. Ru and Adam, the romantic pairing from the previous book, return to support Bas and Dane and new characters join the wonderful circle of friends this author has created. Kudos to Lissa Kasey, whose writing skills have escalated to another level with this effort.

I mentioned that the book should be in all high school libraries, but in hindsight I’ve got to say this story would make a terrific movie or perhaps an MTV series of the “Finding Carter” variety. There are so many fabulous and genuine scenes within its pages and lots of rich humor as well. The heat level is warm to heated with lots of kisses and the romance is delightful, full of the awkward pauses of teenaged love. The resulting story is part self-help book, part coming out story and part first love story, with many mini-tales slipped inside. It is truly an enchanting rainbow of a read

Thank you, Lissa Kasey, for gifting readers with this much-needed tale of the many facets of love.
In a word…”Magical”





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 290 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-September-2019
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link