Saugatuck Summer by Amelia C Gormley

Riptide Publishing Presents


Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.

My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.

Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.


(From previous site)

This book exemplifies for me the reason why m/m is such a powerful subgenre.  Amelia has written two very flawed MCs and yet their love story is both powerful and sweet.  She touches on some very timely subjects: the nature of what qualifies as abuse, the boundaries and taboos of sexual desire, racial equality, societal “norms”… But she is neither preachy nor overbearing.

There are times you hurt as you turn the page, watching Topher place himself in bad situation after bad situation, but the pay out is so worth it.  You can see growth, love, and understanding.  No – it’s not all peaches and cream, but when is life, ever?

Another beautiful thing Amelia has done is to give us two MCs who BOTH have flaws, and yes, it is a Rescue Me story, but in the end both characters are “rescued”, and neither is helpless.

I found her exploration of Topher’s sexuality particularly well done.  You would expect that an out and proud man would “know” himself pretty well, but as she shows us, that isn’t always the case and we internalize so much from our environment without really asking ourselves if this is ME or THEM.  Very well done.

Amelia is a fantastic writer whose characters drive this story through aching pain and delicious happiness.  She has great editing and a smooth, writing style that is evocative and decadent without crossing over into purple prose.

It felt real, and believable, and still so sweet.  Some of this is the first person usage, which I really like.  It felt intimate and I like that – especially in an angsty book.  Though I would have loved more from Jace’s POV or even Brendan’s you definitely know what they are thinking and it doesn’t detract from the story.

This is the first in a series and the first I have read of this author.  I look forward to more.

An excellent book, I highly recommend.

5 of 5 hearts