Until September by Harker Jones | Book Review

Harker Jones’ Until September is the touching story of Kyle, set in the “in the lull between the conservative ’50s and the turbulent ’60”, that focuses on his last summer alongside his friends, just before life sets them apart for college – and for a number of other unfortunate reasons. A gay coming-of-age romance novel, it embraces a rather realistic love story that many other novels of its type tend to idealize. Until September comprises the raw, emotional aspects of relationships that ultimately change the life course of the protagonists and implicitly have an impact on those they are surrounded by.

Contouring the characters and their development throughout the novel is undeniably the author’s strong point, at least when it comes to this rather underappreciated novel. The way they are written into their circumstances and the interaction between them nearly “forces” the reader to sympathize with them, both when it comes to their despair and happiest experiences. The approach to the idea of teenage friendships is quite authentic and not sugar-coated, meaning that the emotional responses and their mental states are strongly reflected in the group’s dynamics. Although the novel began a bit slow, it certainly picked up and eventually became not one of those coming-of-age stories that keep the reader engaged through events and twists, but one of those that immerse the reader into the story precisely for its honest depiction of certain experiences – death, heartache, teenage pregnancy.

The only thing I would object to is the prolonged ending that perhaps wasn’t necessary as the central idea was perfectly introduced and the reader could easily deduce how things would turn out in the end. The storyline and writing style kept on reminding me of Call Me by Your Name and, if anything, Until September is probably the second novel of its type, after André Aciman’s, that truthfully and painfully portray what reality looked like for many teenagers, especially those born in a period that wasn’t very accommodating or welcoming for gay people. If you are looking for a pleasant but saddening read, for a novel about passion, grief, losing one’s self or heartbreak, Harker Jones’ book is for you. A big thank you to the author for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review. Find the book here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: Until September
Author: Harker Jones
Publication Date: 2021
Publisher:  Independently published
Format: Paperback|451 pages

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