Heroes at Heart: Book One
Yancy Bell was bullied in high school for being a yellowbelly, not because of any cowardice, but because of his nervous bladder condition. It’s Yancy’s first year in college, and he’s hoping to make a fresh start.
Three days before Christmas, the campus is empty. Having to pee on a midwinter night leads Yancy to meet Curt Donovan huddled in a dark shower stall. Curt’s a troubled jock whose coming out went badly, so he plans to end it all.
But Yancy adamantly refuses to let Curt go through with his irrevocable plan. With just one dark night to talk Curt around, Yancy has to win the trust of a stranger who only sees one way out.
This is a short story (and I think most of my objections to this book stem from that aspect) about a boy who finds another guy in the communal bathroom in the middle of the night, acting strangely.
Yancy goes to the bathroom frequently due to a condition he has (nervous bladder) and so it’s not strange that he’s there at 2 am. What is strange is there is someone hiding in the shower stall. (For whatever reason or instinct) Yancy is compelled to ask after the guy until he proves that “he’s okay”.
The guy isn’t okay. He’s contemplating suicide since his father has disowned him for being gay.
He and Yancy end up bonding then making out and things are looking up for both of them by the end.
I really liked the premise of this. I think that suicide in young adults has to be something so difficult to deal with and I really appreciated the comments Yancy made. Something to the effect that making these kids feel guilty for wanting to end their pain wasn’t a very helpful motivation.
I know that short stories have to do a lot with few words, but there were some plot holes that just kept me from being fully invested in this story.
First, why did the admittedly not brave Yancy persist in investigating the guy in the shower?
Second, without a lot of explanation, why did Curt allow himself to flip so far out in the first place, recover so quickly, then immediately jump into dating? I didn’t get a good feel for Curt but he’s sort of reticent in demeanor but his actions are all over the map. I think if he’d been more of a drama queen his actions would have fit better since he was so quick to bounce from thing to thing to thing.
I think with a few modifications those plot holes could have been explained away and even with a short story the emotions the author were trying to portray could have worked.
The writing was good and the idea compelling but the end result wasn’t as satisfying as I’d have wanted it. Perhaps making this into longer could give it more depth and make it a more plausible story.
3 of 5 hearts