Title: Tell Me It’s Real
Author: TJ Klune
Publishing Date: Feb 15, 2013
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / 3.75 blissful hearts
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
Enter Vince Taylor.
Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.
But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.
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TJ Klune has never been my first choice, when I had to pick up an MM book. I liked Bear, Otter and the Kid just fine, but it was a never a book I planned on re-reading at any point. Therefore TJ Klune has never been auto-buy for me and even though I liked Tell Me It’s Real I doubt she will be now.
What caught my interest about Tell Me It’s Real – other than it being a recommended book from a picky MM reader friend of mine – was that we are talking about highly flawed characters here. Not only in their outer looks (admit it, slightly overweight protagonists are something we rarely see in MM), but also on the inside in various degress. Now, let’s get down to the fun part!
I wish I could introduce Paul Auster to you without making him sound like a whiny bitch. Unfortunately, I cannot. While that should make you frown and turn your petit nose up to the sky, stick around for a little bit longer. Because Paul Auster is a bitch and he is a tad whiny and he admits it. He even starts out telling you all the reasons why you should not read the book on the first five pages, which is actually what keeps you interested.
Paul Auster is hilarious. He is sarcastic with a dark humour, which hits me right in the feels in the best way possible, as it is a humour I can personally relate to. Besides being a sarcastic, overweight gay man, he also has a certain amount of self irony.
“He was hard lines, chiseled flesh, bronzed skin. I was a marshmallow melting in a cup of cocoa.”
While Paul is an absolute blast to read about and follow his best friend is who made me cringe through this book. All respect to the draq queens and their way of life, because I do believe it’s amazing, but just like with transexuals, I have a hard time reading about them in books. Mostly based upon that I in general have a hard time with women in MM books (pet peeve of mine and it’s horrible) and draq queens and transexuals are partly female, bringing in traits from my own gender I would happily live without.
Helena Handbasket, as is her stage name (real name is Sandy), had an annoying personality. Now, Paul had a tendency to be annoying, but he did it enough self irony, I actually turned out to be rather fond of the guy. Sandy on the other hand is that distratious little sidekick who believes he knows what is best for you, while telling you in the most horrible and rude way. I would quite honestly hate having a guy like that as my friend. He was snobby, nitpicky and mean all the way through and I had no feelings of love left for him. Again, a lot of was due to him being partly female and all those annoying female traits flowed right through him and showed on his face.
Basically, he was the only torn in my side. Vince was adorable. Stupidly adorable, I might add, because his IQ cannot said to be the highest we have seen coming from this genre. Perhaps, that is why I liked it. There was nothing, which was sugarcoated in this story – quite a surprise coming from contemporary books in the MM genre.
However, due to the annoyance of a secondary character and some other minor stuff, I cannot give this book more than close to a 4. It’s good, no doubt about it, but it could have been better.