Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer - Steve Berman, Ann Zeddies, Shawn Syms, Dia Pannes, Marguerite Croft, Christopher Reynaga, Aimee Payne, Nathan Burgoine, Sam Cameron, Alex Jeffers "Boys of Summer" is certainly an anthology worth a summer afternoon of light, romantic reading in the YA GLBT spectrum. I found myself enjoying what it had to offer in the array of relationships between the boys that the various authors chose to showcase. I'll admit that the major aspect of this collection that kept me from giving it an even higher rating were that many of the stories were truncated abruptly - leaving the story unfinished or not as developed as it could've been if the story were a bit more rounded or slightly longer.The collection, as edited by Steve Berman, offers ten stories of varied lengths, revolving around different teenage boys lives during the summer months and the boys they come to meet in their experiences. I'll focus on a few highlights and honorable mentions, but the collective array of stories offered here would be ones worth trying out for yourself to see what strikes you.The first story in the collection, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Swamp Thing" is perhaps one of the strongest stories in the anthology, telling the story of Chase and Shane - two boys who spend the summer venturing out on a boat and observing frogs and making note of the marine life around the area. I liked the natural nuances of each of the boys as well as their gradual progression of getting to know each other, even when they faced opposition from some of the members of the popular crowd. In the end, their story felt rounded and complete to developing their characters.Another story I enjoyed was "Breakwater in the Summer Dark" - which told the story of two boys who attend a summer camp in the midst of a strange creature that lurks the lake, something like the Loch Ness Monster. It shows one of the boys having an attachment to the camp, maybe even the permanence of the creatures lurking there, while the other boy searches to find his own place while there - and determine his relationship. Cody and Harris are both likable, realistic characters, and the story progression is light and easy to follow.The last one that really stood out for me in terms of the highlighted stories was "Leap" - which showcased the relationship between Ryan and Will coming to terms with each other and interacting in a way that showcases a "next step" for the both of them. I really liked the tone of the story, and it managed to be humorous and cute in spurts.Special honors go to "Most Likely" and "Cave Canem". I think in the overall perspective of these stories, they progress in their own lighthearted way and people who like light reads and coming of age/slice of life stories will like them a lot more.Overall score: 3/5Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Bold Strokes Books.