Without Sin – J. Tomas
Sixteen-year-old Jacob Smithson has a temper. He’s picked on because he likes boys, and fighting gets him kicked out of public school. As a last resort, his parents place him in St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Boarding School for Boys. At his first mass at St. Thomas he sees Avery Dendritch, a senior who serves as altar boy during the service. When they meet, the attraction between them is hard to deny. The two become fast friends, and as the school year progresses, their friendship deepens until Jacob feels he’s found a place where he belongs. But the other students gossip about their growing relationship. Avery can ignore them; Jacob can’t. As the rumors and slurs start up again, can he curb his temper, or will his fighting get him expelled from St. Thomas, too?
I can’t make up my mind whether or not I liked this book. I read it a few days ago and I’ve been weighing up the pros and cons ever since. I think it’s probably safest to say that I’m sitting on the fence with this one. If you want to know my reasons, continue reading.
Con: Although Without Sin is narrated by two characters (something which I normally love), I couldn’t bring myself to feel any kind of attachment to either Jacob or Avery. Their “voices” were too similar for any real distinction to be made. They both seemed kind of shallow and I felt like they fell in “love” too fast. For me, their relationship was based on physical attraction only, and this is something I can never relate to.
Pro: This novel wasn’t censored in any way. So many young adult novels portray teen characters as all too innocent, something which I feel is a misrepresentation of many youth today. Without Sin does not do this, and it explores teenage sexual desires well. I felt this aspect of this novel was truthful and dealt with appropriately.
Con: Although I was impressed by the lack of censorship, the issue of sex seemed to be all it was about. There was very little plot, except one huge build up to the point where the two boys finally have sex. Because of this, it didn’t hold my attention that well and I found I had to force myself to keep reading.
Pro: I liked the ending. While I’m not going to tell you what it is, I found the ending to be quite realistic. It’s refreshing to find a novel where everything isn’t wrapped up in a fairy tale ending. Readers are given closure, but it’s not all happily ever after, if you know what I mean. Snaps to J Tomas for pulling this off so well.
Every time I think I make up my mind about this one, it changes right back again. So I’m not going to provide a summary opinion. You’ll just have to read it and decide for yourself this time.