Read When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon Online

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With a new introduction by James KliseThe year is 1990, and in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Neil Byrne plays rugby, keeps up with the in-crowd at his school, and is just a regular guy. A guy who's gay. It's a secret he keeps from the wider world as he explores the city at night and struggles to figure out how to reveal his real self--and to whom.First published in IrelWith a new introduction by James KliseThe year is 1990, and in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Neil Byrne plays rugby, keeps up with the in-crowd at his school, and is just a regular guy. A guy who's gay. It's a secret he keeps from the wider world as he explores the city at night and struggles to figure out how to reveal his real self--and to whom.First published in Ireland in 1993 and compared to The Catcher in the Rye by critics, Tom Lennon's When Loves Comes to Town is told with honesty, humor, and originality....

Title : When Love Comes to Town
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780807589168
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

When Love Comes to Town Reviews

  • Elspeth
    2019-04-21 19:51

    When I saw the cover of this on Net Galley, I was all ooh two boys in flannel, this looks to be interesting. Then I saw it was set in the 90’s, in Ireland (yummy accents), and a coming of age story. I was sold, so I signed up for it. You see, I miss 90’s fashion terribly, I think it’s the only time I really was in style. I mean how hard is it to toss on a flannel shirt, ripped jean, and doc martins or combat boots? Yeah, I was suddenly in style in a High School filled with J Crew and Gap girls. So I want to give a big thank you to Mudhoney for bringing forth the grunge era. This story centers on Neil, a sensitive young man who realized he was gay at the age of ten. Since then he has played the class clown with his friends, and been slowly pulling away from his family. I loved the way his thought process was written, how he narrated what he was going to say before he said it. On how he told himself stories on how things would go if he said this, or did that. It was interesting, and it really showed how scared he was to EVER show his true self. I also found it amazing on how strong yet fragile Neil was, how adult in some ways, and so very lost in others. How he acknowledges how different he feels for certain people, but when it’s easy he fools himself thinking lust is love. With Ian it’s the innocent, pure, sweet, heart wrenching love of hidden poems, and midnight walks by his house. With Uncle Sugar it’s the pity love, the honor, and flattering feelings of being sought after, the shared sadness of knowing that you share a bond of hopeless love. With Shane it’s the lust ridden, blinder wearing, fool yourself, character flaw ignoring relationship you know is not going to last long, but always hope it does. Along with Neil’s story we see glimpses of other peoples’ lives, and what they struggle with. He meets a Drag Queen, whose wife took the kids and left, a young man dying of AIDS, his best friend having an affair with a married man, his sexually active sister smoking pot with her boyfriend, as well as a list of problems that his friends are dealing with. This is a slice of life story, one that touches your heart, makes you feel the emotions the main character is feeling. I really wish I found this to read back when it was published, it’s a beautiful story that shows you just how not different everyone is. How love, no matter who you are is messy, stupid, pure, innocent, blind, and always worth it.Thank you Net Galley and Albert Whitman & Company

  • Cay
    2019-05-15 18:51

    It was the cover of When Love Comes to Town that first caught my attention. When I saw the 'two guys holding hands' version of the cover on Netgalley, my first thought was "Yay, a new young adult LBGT book! I have to read it!". However, after reading the blurb and finding out about When Love Comes to Town being a reprint of the same title published in 1993, I became hesitant. Because, you see, I went and did some research. What I found was the gawd-awful old cover and a handful of lukewarm reviews. Therefore, I figured this wouldn't be for me, and I would have probably never picked it up on my own, if I hadn't been sent a review invite. After some consideration, I thought why not give it a go. After all, I like the LBGT genre, so it couldn't be that bad, I figured. And it wasn't. But rather, it was quite the contrary - I really enjoyed When Love Comes to Town. Honestly, I can't believe that I almost talked myself out of reading this book. I'm so glad I decided to give it a chance, I would have been missing out on a great book if I didn't.First off, Tom Lennon must be given credit for creating such a genuine teen voice. Neil is a popular guy with a clever wit. However underneath his Mr. Happy mask, Neil is scared and lonely. Despite having a large family and many friends, being gay makes him feel like an outsider and causes him to be secretive about himself. Neil feels isolated both at home and with his coupled friends. He lies about girls and pretends to laugh while in fact he is outraged by the homophobic jokes. The more intuitive members of his family, like his mom and sister, can sense that something is "off" with him, but he is afraid to come out for fear of the reaction he would likely to get. His Dad's especially.His house had come into view. It looked like something out of a postcard with the moonlight shrouding the rooftop. But underneath that roof, the secrets would linger. He knew he'd never say it. Nothing would ever change. Seven for secrets never to be told.The Catholic Ireland in the early 1990s is not a very a good place to be gay. The Pope just made a strong stand against homosexuality. The majority of people believes that homosexual behavior is wrong and a sin. At the same time, it's apparent that the younger generation shows more tolerance and acceptance. Things are definitely changing for the better, if slowly. "we are family, I got all my sisters with me" Neil wants to tell and finally be himself, and he is also desperate for some company of his own. Luckily, he finds confidants inside as well as outside of his family. Neil even makes it to a gay bar, where we get an interesting glimpse into the gay life of Ireland in the nineties. We meet Uncle Sugar, a relic of old times. A groundbreaking radio show breaks our hear. We see what AIDS does to a person. We encounter those who chose to hide their orientation, but also meet the ones who don't. When Love Comes to Town takes us back to the time of no internet and no mobile phones, the era of arranging dates on public phones and cruising public toilets for sex, and makes us thankful for what we have now. Just as, Becky and his brother and couples like Redster and Dave or Jackie and Liam reminds us that things will get better. As the title says, love is coming to town, or rather Neil goes to town, Dublin, in search of love. I don't want to spoiler the story, so I'm not giving any details, but it's suffice to say that I liked how this aspect of the story ended. I thought it was sweet. Overall, When Love Comes to Town has a somehow bittersweet ending. Again, times were different then.Truth be told, When Love Comes to Town hasn't become my new favorite book, but it is a beautifully written coming of age, coming out story that I'm glad to have read. Definitely worth the reprint and the new cover.

  • Shirley Frances
    2019-05-02 16:07

    This is Neil Byrne's story. A young Irish man who has known he was gay since he was ten years old, he has been keeping his sexual orientation from his friends and family. He acts like the happy-go-lucky guy everyone has come to know when in reality his heart is breaking and his loneliness is eating him up inside.I truly loved this story. Since the story took place in 1990 I could relate to the music references and the fashion, but it was Neil's sense of helplessness and his tortured soul that really touched me. Add to that the common issues teenager struggle with and I couldn't help but love him.His voice was a wonderful mixture of humor, sarcasm and pain. He struggled with who he was every single day. He wanted to fit in, but wanted to be himself - accepted, loved just as he was. He feared his parents and friends' reactions if they ever found out he was gay and endured bigoted comments from them, while maintaining his ever present humor and smile.Packed full with emotions, introspective narrative and interesting characters, I thought that Tom Lennon's writing was excellent. He managed to bring all sorts of emotions and events to the page that kept the reader engaged and emotionally invested Neil's story and his well being. The secondary characters were a mix of different personalities - the supportive, the indifferent and the disloyal. Every character added to the story and to Neil's development as a person. Little by little we get to see a different side of Neil. At first he was insecure and a bit lost as to what he really wanted from life, but as the story progressed we see how the interactions with the different characters has changed him, making him more assertive and looking at the world through the eyes of a grown up.It was interesting to see how things have progressed over the years and how some issues remain the same. Today's GLBT's youth still struggle with similar problems as those Neil struggled throughout the story even though many things have improved since the 90's. James Klise's foreword brings to the front the fact that this story was written before famous people were coming out as gay and the availability of support groups was a click or a tap away.This book was as sweet as it was heart wrenching. I laughed, I cried, I was exasperated and mad as hell, but above all else I was enlightened. When Love Comes to Town is a coming of age story that will stay with you even after you're done reading it.I received tis title from through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

  • Lottie Eve
    2019-04-20 15:52

    3.5 starsThis is my first Glbt novel so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I didn’t know what to expect from it but I do know that I enjoyed reading it. When Love Comes To Town has depth, meaning, and I found it to be very thought provoking.When Love Comes To Town is a story about a boy named Neil coming to terms with his sexuality. Neil has known he was gay since he was ten. He has been playing the role of the class clown ever since then. He keeps to himself and has been distancing himself from his family. I loved how Neil was written. He strong in some ways but also very weak in other ways. His fear of showing his true self really shows through his narration. Neil imagines in massive detail about what will happen if he says or does a certain thing before he decides to go through with it. His thought process was interesting and very different.I also noticed that the love Neil feels for people differs. Neil’s love for Ian was pure, his love for Jack shows his need to be wanted, and his love for Shane was a lustful one.The other characters in the book are also well rounded. They all had their own quirks and flaws. We also get to learn their stories. This kept them from being forgettable and made them memorable.The book contains good writing that often slips into the style of stream of thought. I thought that it worked well. It allowed the reader to learn more about Neil’s way of thinking. When Love Comes To Town made my eyes tear up at some moments. This does not mean that the book is lacking in humour and happy moments. I laughed, I teared up, and I cheered on for the characters.I believe that When Love Comes To Town was a good introduction to the Glbt genre and I look forward to more

  • Riya
    2019-05-21 19:14

    A free copy of this ebook was provided for me via Netgalley.My rating for this book is 3.5 out of 5 stars. This is a Young Adult GLBT romance novel that takes place in Ireland in the 1990's. [Before I start my review, I just want to quickly say how great it is that this book is getting released in the US for the FIRST time even though it was originally published in 1993. We need more diverse YA. It's fine and dandy to read a book about a pretty, white, American heroine, but not ALL the time. It is very refreshing to see a story about a gay teen from Ireland; this is not a perspective that we see often in teen literature].Now - our main character is Neil Byrne. At first glance it might seem that Neil's got a pretty fabulous life: he is a smart, attractive rugby athlete that has tons of great friends and even a few girls pining for him. His parents are still together and he's got two sisters and two brothers. He is finishing up his last year in school with good grades. He seems to have it all.BUT . . . he just so happens to be secretly gay, and he's known about it since he was very young. Neil is tired of pretending to like girls and he is tired of hiding his true self from his friends and family. As much as he wants to reveal everything to his loved ones, he is horribly afraid of the consequences of doing that. Will everyone abandon him, tease him, beat him up? He worries about this constantly and is ever vigilant that no one find out that he is gay. This, however, becomes more difficult to hide as Neil ventured out to his first gay pub and befriends an eclectic group of people that are gay like he is. There is Uncle Sugar - a much older man that befriends Neil and clearly wants more from him than Neil wants to provide. Uncle Sugar is wealthy but also has creepy stalkerish tendencies. There is Ian - a cute boy that works at a neighborhood pub that Neil takes a liking too but can't seem to find the words to tell Ian how he really feels. And there is also Shane - the ultimate hottie - that Neil meets a gay bar and has an instant attraction to.There are many more interesting people to this story that have a profound impact on our protagonist's life as he struggles to find himself and reconcile the conflicts within him. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is tired of the same clichéd YA fiction and is looking for something different than what one usually sees in the teen section of the bookstore. This is a good, worthwhile book to read, and I am very glad I had a chance to do that thanks to Netgalley for providing me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Brandilyn
    2019-05-06 16:08

    Find my full review hereI am neither male, nor gay, but I think this story is powerful enough that transcends the specific subject matter. It is a coming of age / coming out story of one Irish bloke the summer between 6th year and Uni. I won't say it is a story of acceptance because that is not what he receives, necessarily. But it is his journey, no-the-less. He is an average joe with a painful secret that he has kept for many years. He wars with himself for lying and for hiding, but he doesn't see another way. It is told in the third person from Neil's perspective. You get a unique view of action in both standard narrative and interesting stream-of-consciousness bits. You know what he is thinking; you feel what he is feeling. You hurt with him; you laugh with him. But you also hurt FOR him. The last chapter of the book is one of the most powerful I think I have ever read.(view spoiler)[WLCTT is a story of one Irish blokes journey to come out. Neil Byrne has known since he was about 10 or 11 that he liked guys not girls, but his friends, family, and neighbors are all very vocal against the "life-style". He spends his days with his "rhyming couplet" (i.e. straight couple) friends, laughing loudly and pretending to be a part of something from which he feels so separate. He lives in a state of loneliness and depression, more than once wondering about ending it all, all the while crushing on a beautiful boy from school. One the encouragement of his best friend, Becky, he goes into a Gay Pub in Dublin one night and inadvertently begins his journey. He meets an interesting cast of characters over the ensuing weeks, some less savory than others. He ends up the victim of a hate crime, with a boyfriend that he can't declare and who won't declare him, but he finds some friends and level of acceptance from them that helps him face what he needs to do. Until it all comes crashing down... (hide spoiler)]

  • Tyler Martin
    2019-05-21 18:54

    Lennon's "When Love Comes to Town" is creative not as much for its plot and characters as it is the overall subject of the novel. The LGBT community has grown immensely over the past decade, and Lennon's novel touches on many of those extremely time relevant themes. Anyone interested in the life of someone with a non-heterosexual identity would most likely find Neil, the 'closeted' homosexual main character's story quite fascinating. Lennon's character development is also an aspect that adds to his novel, in that there are many different types of characters that play many different roles in the life of Neil and the plot overall. Additionally, the novel is a very easy read for someone looking for some pleasure reading or even perhaps a younger audience. (Although, parents and teachers should be advised that the book has mild but present adult themes that some young readers may not find suitable.) Overall a great book, especially in its time.

  • ☆ Todd
    2019-05-05 23:12

    Neil was very easy to relate to and root for. You really felt for what he was going through. Young, naive and a little bit stupid, but hopeful -- until there wasn't a whole lot of hope left. But then there was, which finally made the story for me.This wasn't the most action-packed book ever, but I'd recommend it for sure, if for no other reason than Neil's little internal chats with Jesus Christ himself. : )

  • Sean Kennedy
    2019-05-12 23:57

    Good book, but it suffers from the nineties' mindset of a bit of a doom and gloom ending.

  • Jennifer Madero (Boricuan Bookworms)
    2019-05-15 00:03

    You can find more of my reviews on my co-owned blog Boricuan BookwormsARC provided by Publisher via NetgalleyNeil Byrne is a star player of his rugby team at school, easy-going and a clown at times, he’s your regular high school guy. But that’s what you see in the outside, because there is more to him than what the eye shows. He likes guy since he was a ten-year-old. But in 1990’s Ireland a lot of people consider it a disease and rather take the news like someone is going to die instead of what it really is, a sexual preference (or sexual orientation). In this story, we see the struggles and problems Neil starts to go through once he decides to tell the truth little by little and going to a gay pub. One thing is for sure, it isn’t easy.When I requested this ARC, for some reason I confused it with another book and didn’t know it was about a gay guy. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against them. It was just a bit weird because I’ve never read a book like that, which made me be more interested, especially since it deals a lot with psychology and emotions; I love those things in a book.It didn’t disappoint. While reading I often thought of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. They are two whole different stories yet deal with the misunderstanding of some people, plus the writing style was one so different and much more engaging than the ones of this millennium. I was hooked from the first page, I couldn't put it down. It’s in third person and I usually don’t like it much, but here it’s delivered in a way that you don’t feel like reading it in that kind of narrative, for the ones who’re really picky in that like me. Also, the way the author wrote, it made it even more interesting. There were even some parts in italics written from Neil’s first person view with short and sometimes confusing sentences. Some may see it was a weakness in the narrative, but it gave the story a more realistic feel because we think like that, in short and unfinished sentences most of the time.The characters were amazing. Each one played an important paper in the story even if they appeared momentarily. We see how each person plays a part in the situation where Neil was. His parents didn’t understand him, even if they did love him, they were your typical parents wanting “what’s best for you,” or in other words deciding your future. The same with the other characters, each one was equally important as Neil is and made in such a great way...Now the part I’ve been wanting to write about since I started the book. Homosexuality is a strong topic even in this more liberal age. People are more acceptant (accepting?) than they used to be, and we can still see a lot of conflicts regarding this. Neil here is between the wall and the sword, thinking there must be something wrong with him. Everywhere people talk bad about what he really is, and everyone judged him without knowing the real situation. I consider that everyone is free to chose whatever they want, that’s why we have freewill. Why insult, attack, and spit on someone who is as human as you are? Why preach of doing God’s will and goodness if you’re going to treat them in all the wrong ways? It makes me really angry how some people can be so inconsiderate. It’s okay that they have their opinions, but there’s a limit to your words. Yes, there’s the freedom of speech, but there are also morals, and I don’t consider to treat someone bad to make them feel like scum and want to die something nice my parents would teach me.Neil in the story has to deal with his own friends talking bad of gays, insulting them and making even Neil laugh at them. He’s torn inside between telling the truth or keeping it hidden. He’s torn between what he wants, often praying to Jesus to make him stop liking guys and be “normal”. He even considers suicide! That’s also wrong, but to find yourself in that situation is really strong, and no one should face those things. And whom are to blame? People that don’t respect other’s choices and preferences. Whatever you like, go for it, as long as you don’t make yourself or others something wrong, go for it. You are free of that.And that’s why I loved this book, because it makes you reflect on those things. The story might have been from the 1990’s, at least 20 years ago, and yet I can still see these things nowadays. Don’t you think it’s a little bit mad? Recently on Facebook I saw a picture that says that Ancient Native American tribes treated same sex relationships with utmost respect and were thought to be sacred. (https://www.facebook.com/didyouknowblog) If they respected them, why can’t we too? Treat them as equals? Or at least not look down at them with superiority and spit on their faces? (cheers that I finally found a perfect place to put this GIF! :D)Back to the book... So yeah, basically, this is a great read. Whatever your sexual preferences, this is a must read. It makes you think a lot because it not only touches the themes of homosexuality, but bullying, family relationships, friends, and your future as you want it. It also gives a message of staying strong because after the storm comes the rainbow. Not everything is bad. In Pandora's jar, with all that was left outside, monsters, diseases and horrible things, the only thing that always remains in the end, is hope.Also, ha, this book is probably a banned book, challenged book, or with things that are considered “bad”. And I am proud I read it because I read whatever I wanted. A great read, honestly. If you loved The Perks by Stephen Chbosky, read this. Twisted good characters? This has them. Humor and romance? This too. Want to cry for that confusing ending? Oh yeah, I did. There are really emotional parts in this.Love love love it. So glad I picked this book.Rating: 4.5 stars

  • Meghan
    2019-05-12 15:56

    4 1/2 stars - very quick read, I couldn't put down this story of Neil's life and how he comes to terms with his sexuality. It was nice to see book set in Ireland during the 1990's as this provides a different point of view. This is a book I wish I had when I was younger as I felt I could relate to Neil and many of his feelings and struggles. At the heart of this novel is loneliness, and the hope for acceptance, as well as trying to determine how friends and family will handle learning the truth of your sexuality. I enjoyed watching Neil grow and find himself as he progressed through his story and found the courage to live his life and tell his friends and family. There are many characters and scenes that made an impression on me for better or worse. As did the types of love Neil had for each and what they gave him back in return. I don't want to go into more details and risk spoiling the story. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time.

  • Nora Jordan
    2019-05-10 20:06

    As I've read a lot of current LGBTQ+ fiction, I was truly interested in reading something that is contemporary to when I was in high school. Thinking back to how we flippantly used the word gay, I can't imagine how difficult it would have been for those closeted students in my school, and for sure there were some. From reading this wonderfully truthful and at times very upsetting story, I can't help but feel deeply for Neil and hope that later in life he is able to find the love and acceptance that he is searching for.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-14 18:57

    It's an older book about a gay teen who loves Sinead O'Connor, coming out to people he trusts and loves. It does not end on an especially upbeat note, which I found discouraging. The preface was helpful in putting into perspective the culture and times when the book was originally written, and maybe has redeeming value as a glbt period piece.

  • Carly
    2019-05-07 22:56

    i liked it.the beginning was a little slow for my liking but it finished good. it was a good mix of non- and historical fiction which is both upsetting and good because of the way gays were treated and it teaches.until next time ... ~Carly

  • Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)
    2019-05-16 22:16

    I read When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon at the same time I was read another book about LGBTQ youth from a male perspective: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (for the read-a-long I’m co-hosting) which led to some interesting comparisons. When Love Comes to Town is set in Ireland during the year 1990 (the year I was born!) and as the new forward points out, it is a different time than the one we live in now. There was no “It Gets Better” campaign, homophobia was even more prevalent, and there weren’t chat rooms to find others like you. This was all in stark contrast to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, in which whole chapters are IM conversations! The plot of When Love Comes to Town is fairly simple. Neil Byrne is an athletic sixteen year old, who lives in Dublin with his family. It is just coming up the end of the school year, and he is taking his exams. He’s having to make some decisions that will impact the rest of his life, such as where to go to college. During this time, Neil, who has known for a while that he is gay, becomes increasingly involved in the gay bar scene, meeting new people and new friends that support him. Despite the support, at times his involvement in the LGBTQ community adds even more challenges to his life. He hasn’t told his family, or his friends, although he often feels that deep down they suspect the truth. Neil’s story is about coming out and coming to terms with ones’ sexuality and the tough times along the way. While it is categorized in the romance genre on Goodreads … I wouldn’t really call it that. It’s certainly a depressing story. Although this was at a time when a lot of LGBTQ stories were almost strictly about the struggles of coming out, so I can’t retrospectively judge it for having a bit of a singular narrative. However, it did a fairly good job from straying away from LGBTQ stereotypes. While many of the characters at first glimpse appear to be a bit stereotypical, Lennon presents many sides to each character. There is the macho/butch Neil, who is also sensitive and caring; effeminate Daphne, and two trans women/cross dressing men Gladys and Penelope (I understand trans & cross dressing are NOT the same, but it wasn’t very explicit as to how they identified… although I think they may have been referred to as “trannys”). There was a wide age range of characters represented as well.One issue I did have was that this was almost exclusively a gay male narrative… to the point that it just seemed as if lesbian or bisexual women were being excluded on purpose. There are 2-3 instances of lesbian women in the narrative, and one of those instances is to remark at his friend Becky being uncomfortable around them. 2 out of the 3 instances involve the same women and the second instance is made in passing. It just seemed very strange that here Neil was going to the gay bar a few times a week in the summer and lesbian women were never really involved in the story. As for bisexual men and women, they are mentioned once and in a biphobic manner, perpetuating myths about bisexuality. Becky tells Neil to avoid bisexual men, as they will break his heart because they are too fluid, don’t know what they want, and as a result, won’t commit to a relationship. I know even today that biphobia is an issue in LGBTQ communities, but it was still disappointing.As for the characters, I thought many of them were interesting and added to the plot, but I actually had the toughest time connecting with the main character, Neil. I’m not sure if this is because I don’t read a lot of male narrated books, but I think it had more to do with the fact that the writing style of the book was… strange. It would switch frequently between first and third person point of view. The first person point of view could go on for a page or two and be a stream of consciousness (especially when he had been drinking). It was a bit jarring at times and despite the fact that I got to see inside Neil’s head, it didn’t really bring me closer to the character.For the most part, the book was just OK for me. It read quite quickly, and it was interesting to read a book set in the year I was born, in a country that I had just recently visited. The only part of the book that I thought was very well done and that the strange first/third person mixed point of view worked well was at the very end. It made me very emotional, but then the actual last page was just… odd. I don’t want to spoil it, but it just left me a bit confused as I thought about the message of the book. If anyone has read it, I’d love to talk about it!Looking back, I think I’d still have chosen to read When Love Comes to Town, as it provides insight into the not so distant past and had me also thinking about the present, and the future in regards to LGBTQ issues. While it doesn’t read as YA does today, as it is a bit more mature, and the writing is quite different then today’s bestsellers, When Love Comes to Town is a classic YA book that deals with tough issues in what I imagine, for some, is done in a relatable way.* I requested this book on NetGalley, and received an electronic version of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jenia
    2019-04-20 23:14

    ~ARC E COPY was provided by Albert Whitman & Company through Netgalley, for review purposes~ I had always enjoyed books about gay, lesbian relationship, it something different. I haven’t read many male gay relationships before. At first I wasn’t sure how much I was going like this book, mostly due to fact that first few pages started out pretty slow, and it was bit hard for me to get into story at first. When it did pick up, I found myself unable to put the book down.When Love Comes To Town ended up being one of the books that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. When Love Comes To Town was unlike any LGBT book I read before and that’s what was unique about it. I would highly recommend this book. You won’t be disappointed.GOODREADS SUMMARYThe year is 1990, and in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Neil Byrne plays rugby, keeps up with the in-crowd at his school, and is just a regular guy. A guy who's gay. It's a secret he keeps from the wider world as he explores the city at night and struggles to figure out how to reveal his real self--and to whom.First published in Ireland in 1993 and compared to The Catcher in the Rye by critics, Tom Lennon's When Loves Comes to Town is told with honesty, humor, and originality. The cover is completely stunning, how can you not want to read the book, by looking at the cover. That was one of the first things that actually captured my attention towards the book, got me curious. Cover and the title. When Love Comes To Town, first it such unique title, it seems like most romance titles are pretty simple these days, and that’s what is so unique about it. After reading the book, I saw how much both the cover and the title fit the story. The cover is pretty colorful too, type of cover that would capture reader’s attention, way it captured mine. I always enjoyed reading books from male’s point of view. This male point of view was unlike any other novel that I read before. Unlike other male characters, Neil didn’t seem strong like male characters are, at least parts of the books. Most of all he seemed lost, like he couldn’t find a place where he belonged. Neil’s voice was powerful all way through the novel, I found myself being able to feel everything that Neil was feeling: pain, fear, anger, loneliness. There were times that I wanted to hug Neil, to say that everything was going to be okay. Neil’s emotions were all over the place in novel and they were portrayed so well, I felt like I could connect with him, even though I couldn’t begin imagine what he was going through. I was curious how his parents would react to his news, and I got say I wasn’t too happy with them, especially his father. Parents should accept, love their children no matter what. I was glad that at least he had his sister, her boyfriend and some other friends, who actually accepted him for who he was. I loved that it took place in Dublin, in 90’s, that what was unique about this book. It was unique because it took a place, prior to Internet and I saw the different kinds of entertainment there was there, during that time. I have feeling that it must been even harder on Neil, during that to feel accepted and that’s why he was hiding, his secret. It was why he only told to the people he truly trusted. Considering how he got beat up, when someone found he was gay, I can see why he kept it hidden. That scene was scary, my heart raced while I read it, I was sure that he was going to get killed and sighed of relief when he didn’t.Ian & Shane:I wished that Neil had courage, to start something with Ian then Shane, to me it seemed like he was better match for him. Even if Ian didn’t say much, I could tell that he liked Neil, just by way he looked at him sometimes; they had a connection when two of them talked. Now Shane, I have nothing against, I did like him, at least in beginning, the way that he treated Neil at start I was sure that he liked him. But standing him up, then telling him that he’s too young for him, I wasn’t too sure if he cared for him, at least not the way that Neil cared for him. The way that he treated him sometimes around his friends, made me wonder if he was embarrassed by him. To me, it seemed that Neil moved bit fast from crushing to Ian to Shane. When Love Comes To Town was original, it will make you sad, angry and even make you smile at parts. It’s a book that you won’t regret picking up.

  • Joanne
    2019-05-21 18:04

    Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.I happened to find When Love Comes to Town by chance when browsing NetGalley. I wasn't looking for books to read for LGBTQ YA Month, but when I saw this listed, I had a look. Not only did it sound awesome, but it's also set in Ireland, which I just love. I was really eager to give it a go. Not only is When Love Comes to Town an awesome book, but more difficult to read than I expected.Neil is an ordinary teenager; brilliant at rugby, brilliant in his classes, a number of friends he's pretty popular with, with everything going well for him. Or so everyone thinks, but Neil has a secret. He's gay, and has known it for years. He is constantly hearing comments from those around him about the sexuality of others, or jokes made at their expense, and knows things would change if they ever knew. But Neil is really struggling this year. All his friends are coupled up - the "rhyming couplets" as he calls them - and he's feeling lonely, He wants some happiness of his own, to love and be loved, but doesn't know how that's going to happen, when he doesn't feel he can admit to who he is.When Love Comes to Town is a coming out story, and I've heard a lot of people have problems with coming out stories; there are too many of them about, we're at a time now when coming out, although difficult, isn't the only story LGBTQ people have to tell. This is the first coming out story I've read, but what I think makes this one different from the other coming out stories, possibly, is when it was published and where it's set - in 1993, set in Ireland. There are no mobiles and no internet. If Neil wants to make a private phone call, he has to use a payphone. It's also set in deeply religious Ireland, where being open about your sexuality doesn't seem all that wise. My knowledge of how things are in Ireland isn't that great, but if it would still be considered unwise to be open about your sexuality, at least now there is the internet where an LGBTQ person can find support groups and people like themselves, and not feel so alone. Neil doesn't have any of that. All he has is the local gay pub/club, a place which he struggles with. He feels so alone, and is so lonely, your heart goes out to him.When Love Comes to Town is the first book I've read that covers a person's first experience of a gay pub/club. Probably because of when it's written, at first the pub seems to be just a place for gay people to try to find someone to take home, or go home with. The first time he goes, the whole evening is spent with a man he refers to as Uncle Sugar hitting on him. Buying him drinks, complimenting him, offering him a lift home. Neil is really put off by this guy as he's as old as his father, but uses him for company as he feels ridiculous and out of place. But over time, the pub becomes his haven, a place where he can be himself, once he makes friends. He realises he's not completely alone. He makes friends with a couple, one of whom was a few years over him at school, with an extremely camp guy who calls himself Daphne, and with a couple of cross-dressers. Neil has his eyes opened at the pub with just how many LGBTQ people there are, and how different they are. But although he now has friends who are like himself, and he starts a relationship, there is a part of him that still suffers. He can't admit to who he really is outside of certain circles.There is a huge element of self-hatred at times throughout the book. He wonders why he was born this way, why he couldn't be born straight, and questions whether he could force himself to become straight by having a girlfriend. He also mentions that he has considered suicide a few times, and prays for Jesus to strike him dead, thinking everyone would be better off, everything would be easier. It's really difficult to read, because he just knows he wouldn't be accepted by those he cares about most.I can't really say much more without spoiling the story - this really is just surface stuff. It's a fantastic book, a surprising one, and one that opened my eyes. It's a heartbreaking but moving story, and one that makes even me appreciate how things have moved forward in twenty years. I highly recommend it.Thank you to Albert Whitman Teen and NetGalley for the proof.

  • multitaskingmomma
    2019-04-20 22:57

    With a new introduction by James KliseFirst US Edition!25th AnniversaryMeet Neil Byrne - try-scorer on the rugby field, prizewinning student, one of the in-crowd at the disco, regular guy, gay. Presenting one face to the world and burying his true feelings in fantasy, Neil manages to keep his secret. But when fantasy isn't enough and he becomes caught up in the bizarre subculture of Dublin's gay nightlife, the pretense must end. It is the time for truth. The consequences are both hilarious and painful. Told with honesty, humour and originality, When Love Comes to Town brings a new type of hero to modern Irish fiction.When Love Comes To Town by Tom Lennon is a story is set in Ireland in the early 90s. As it is described by the author, it is a coming out story of the main character, Neil Byrne.Neil is popular, well liked, yet stuck as he is and yet all the time, deep down, he is sure that he is gay. We have to remember that the times of which this book was written were different, and not as accepting. Not that it is that much different these days. Everyone then would say that they are fine with people who are gay, just as long as they stay away from you. So the world at large was pretty much closeted bigots.I cried, but that' s because I'm overly sensitive to the plight of the LGBT community, knowing that the community have some of my own family and friends involved.When I first looked into the blurb, I thought that this was usually not the type of book that I would read, because, like my movies, I tend to go for faster paced and action filled story lines, with great character and plot development thrown in. At first glance, this was looked like an autobiography and I usually do not touch those.Reading on, I began to empathize with what the main character had to deal with, and what most gay people have to face when it has to deal with their decision to come out. I do not want to be in that position where the decision of whether it is worth losing friends and family or just lie about your life and yourself to make others around you happy. This must be the toughest decision to make and, for me, once they take that giant leap, they are all the better and stronger as individuals. When Love Comes To Town involves a great account of Neil's's inner turmoil, and probably in the year that this is based, what I would have thought, is that Neil is brave/courageous indeed.I would hate to be in such a situation and faced with this decision... man it can't be easy for them. It is easy for us to read about them, but to be them, I'll be in way over my head..When Love Comes To Town is a good book to read and will give the readers an understanding of their troubles, thoughts and decisions they might face in coming out and I highly recommend it. Review based on ARC sent by Netgalley.

  • Gliterary Girl (Page Managed by Sara)
    2019-05-19 19:49

    Originally posted on http://www.gliterarygirl.comTHE LOWDOWN: I have to admit this was my first go at a gay love story and I wanted to love it. And I did...for a bit, but eventually the story became trite and bogged down with too many commentaries about how tough the kid (high school closeted male) had it. I understood wholly his plight by the fourth chapter, so after a while, I wanted the story (was there one really?) to move forward. It was supposed to be romance after all...or maybe not, the title is deceptive. However, considering this book was written about two decades ago, I took into consideration that the politics of the time were still very controversial and discussed rarely, if at all, especially in Ireland, where this book takes place. Overall, I would recommend it, but go into it knowing it is more about a boy finding his place in the world than anything else.THE NITTY-GRITTY: There are very few books that I sort of liked, yet had to convince myself to keep reading. Hating or loving a story is one thing. I can throw the bad ones in the trash without a second thought, immediately rushing to my computer with tons of critiques primed for publication. It’s easy to come up with reasons to warn people away from the bad, or discuss ad nauseam why something is fantastic, but what about those that didn’t really make an impression either way.I struggled with When Love Comes To Town...a lot. I struggled to forge on, I struggled to find reasons why I liked it and I struggle now with what to really say about it other than it was bland. If a story were a color, this one would be beige. Completely neutral. Good writing, great characters with hearty and fleshed out personalities; a strong, yet unsure protagonist and awesome peripheral characters, yet they they didn’t do much and the story went nowhere really worth the time. It was a lot of preaching about why people are intolerant and the effect it has on the gay community, which I appreciate and want to read about, but when you get through 65 percent of the book and nothing has really happened except for the same internal monologue about hot guys you can never have because your town will burn you at the stake, you kind of ask yourself why. Why am I continuing on? So here’s the truth...I didn’t.I would love to tell you that the book picked up and I was able to get through it because the ending just blew me away, but I can’t. After the 65 percent mark came and I was still left struggling to want to read it, I finally threw in the towel and bid it adieu. Sorry, Tom Lennon, I really wanted to rave about this one. But unfortunately love didn't come to town quick enough for this reader. But check it out and see for yourself. Again, it wasn’t a bad book. It was just beige.

  • Kayla
    2019-05-03 18:58

    They always told him to tell the truth, but now it was clear to him that they didn't want to hear the truth. This the last line from Tom Lennon's When Love Comes to Town and it sums up the story quite well. The whole time that Neil is suffering, it's becasue he just want to be honest about who he is, but the people who are suppose to except him the most, don't. I think it shows great character development on Neil's part when he can finally be honest with the people around him, and most importantly himself, despite the animosity he faced. Although his parents didn't quite develop, I think this is a very realistic reaction as far as his parents being conservative, the story taking place in Ireland, as well as it being the '90s.I was going to give this book four stars, however I can't pin point a reason as to why I shouldn't give it five. The story is realistic and insightful as to what the LGBT experience was like in the '90s, but it's also a story that's easily accessible for today's generation. Not to mention Lennon has succeeded in making the readers sympathize with Neil. Although I didn't agree with his actions, it was easily understood that his actions reflected the mental turmoil he was in. (view spoiler)[ On the upside I'm glad that it was hinted at that Ian and Neil would be seeing more of each other. As well as that Neil found solace in his sister Jackie (the free spirit of the family), her boyfriend, Liam; as well as his friend Becky, and the friends he made at the gay bar. I also appreciated the fact that his friends I was also pleased when Tom and Andrea told him that they were glad he told them. On the down side, although it is realistic, I'm so very frustrated with Neil's parents, especially his father, that they even begun to open their eyes when they saw him dangling with a noose around his neck, from a tree and then after the fact, not really solve anything.Neil watches his dad contort his face with embarrassment, unable to bring himself to say those words. But now Neil understands the conditions.We'll love you, providing you hide your love away. We know you've been through hell, but please don't bring us down into that hell. And Neil's grin of compliance brings a warm glow of relief to their faces. He realizes that they'll never understand, that they don't want to.I mean at least Neil knows this an and at least he got to put it out there, but I as the reader still wished that things could of ended wrapped up in a little neat package with a bow on it. It's one of those ending that are sad, but leave you hopeful as well as being open ended.(hide spoiler)]

  • Serena.. Sery-ously?
    2019-05-20 17:46

    Neil è all'apparenza un ragazzo normale: tanti amici, una stella del rugby, la battuta pronta e con un futuro promettente. Si mostra forte, sicuro di sè, proprio il contrario di cià che invece è: un ragazzo terribilmente solo, spaventato, insicuro e con tanti problemi a farsi accettare e soprattutto ad accettare sé stesso in quanto gay.Si confida con l'amica Becky e da lì la strada è più o meno tutta in discesa: comincia a frequentare un pub gay e a conoscere altra gente come lui, non da ultimo un ragazzo poco più grande che frequentava la sua scuola.Mi è piaciuto molto la 'doppia esistenza' di Neil, da una parte il duro, l'incurante, dall'altro un ragazzo molto dolce che soffre di un'estrema solitudine.. Mi ha fatto tenerezza, lo ammetto!Per la prima parte del libro ero convintissima che avrei finito per avere un giudizio molto alto ed ero ben contenta di essermi imbattuta per caso in questo libro su NetGalley (anche se la copertina che mi ha colpito era decisamente un'altra, questa è orrenda! Però ho scoperto che il libro è stato scritto nel 1993 e ripubblicato ora..).. Però a circa 405 della lettura l'entusiasmo si è un po' smorzato, la lettura è proceduta più lentamente e l'interesse è diminuito..Innanzitutto perché ogni tanto l'autore inserisce una pseudo-narrazione in prima persona (mentre il resto è in terza) che disturba parecchio.. I pezzi poi non sono ben collegati, sembrano quasi i pensieri del protagonista ma mal descritti. Poi vengono saltati dei punti salienti della storia e lo scaltro lettore deve ritrovare il filo della matassa per poter uscire dal labirinto.. *** Tanto per fare un esempio: Neil e Shane si lasciano in brutti rapporti perché Shane è uno stronzo e tre pagine dopo i due sono insieme, si vedono tutti i giorni, sono dolcissimi e via dicendo.. Eh?!***Poi mi ha anche lasciato un po' così il fatto che vengano trattate tematiche importanti ma trattate in modo sbrigativo 'tanto per'. Si parla del coming out con i genitori, e la questione è liquidata come se niente fosse, nelle ultime venti pagine.. Ma ancora peggio, l'AIDS e il povero Daphne morente. Queste pagine mi hanno disgustato, giuro, per la velovità e la facilità con cui l'autore ha parlato di questa cosa! Un incontro al volo con il ragazzo morente che non si faceva più vedere al pub da un po' e basta così.Ma perché inserirlo allora!!Essendo comunque un romanzo molto breve, si legge facilmente ed è anche piacevole, per carità! Ma ho letto assai di meglio con questa tematica!

  • Kyle
    2019-04-25 21:03

    I received an ARC of the reissue of this book from NetGalley.com.This was originally published in Ireland in 1993. I like reading about Ireland, and I am trying to read more Irish fiction. I also like reading stories with LGBT characters, and so I thought, Hey! This is perfect!.Let me reiterate that it was written in 1993.At the time this was written, I'm sure it was groundbreaking. A teenaged boy must confront his homosexuality, as well as the society he lives in. He struggles, and while the book doesn't have a perfect happy ending, it does have a hopeful ending - which is for the best, because you get the sense that the main character has confronted the hardest parts of his life and is going to be fine. And knowing what I do about the history of gay literature, the fact that the main character didn't end up dead or miserable is a huge accomplishment.The trouble is that, having read this in 2013, 20 years after it was written, it seems a little bit dated. It was compared to The Catcher in the Rye, but that book stands up to the test of time, and this one doesn't. To be fair, I'm not Irish, and I can't speak with any authority on Irish views of homosexuality, but I get the feeling that things will have improved since 1993. In terms of books that I've read, I would actually compare this to Roddy Doyle's Snapper, about a father's reaction to his unwed teenage daughter getting pregnant, but that book was stylistically more interesting. All issues of this book being dated set aside, a lot of the action seemed rushed, and there were characters who were important to Neil, and should have been important to me, as the reader, but who nevertheless seemed like slapped together plot devices with no wants or needs of their own.That said, this was a quick, enjoyable read. I've read books like this before, and it was exactly what I expected it to be. People who aren't as familiar with gay fiction would probably enjoy this more than I did, because it's a solid story and it does tell of a time and place when the world is less accepting than it is now. I also enjoyed how this book wasn't primarily about sex, but more about Neil learning to accept himself, even in the face of his homophobic society, but the dated feel of the novel, and some issues with the writing, took away from my enjoyment of the novel. It's a solid book, but not one I'm sure I would read again.

  • Estelle
    2019-04-23 19:05

    Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading BlogWith a title like this When Love Comes to Town, I was really hoping for a love story. Instead, I received a deep analysis in the very troubled psyche of Neil, a young man who seemed to totally accept himself one minute and be ready to throw in the towel the next.Who could blame him? He was living in a very close-minded circle of treasured friends and even family who would not accept homosexuals. Neil couldn’t stand the pressure of keeping secrets from everyone he knew, but he was also filled with such fear of how his own truths would affect life as he knew it.I really felt for Neil, as he dedicated so much of his time watching old family movies and wishing so hard to be that little boy who was close to his parents without the “invisible barriers” created by who he has discovered himself to be. Neil brought to the forefront a very scary concern: the idea that our parents don’t know who we really are and that maybe, just maybe, they know and want to pretend otherwise. Isn’t that one of the loneliest realizations?Even when dispersed between Neil’s newly discovered friends, ventures into the gay nightclub scene, and affection for a certain boy named Ian, the heavy stuff in When Love Comes to Town only seems to get heavier when the opportunity presents itself: AIDs, rejection, bullying, and loss in many different degrees.Still Neil cannot experience the lowest of lows without the occasion highs that come in the form of an accepting female best friend, great music lyrics, and even the comfort of knowing that his religion will hold him tight, even when it seems like an impossibility. When Love Comes to Town felt like a prelude to other wonderful books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in the past year like J.H. Trumble’s Don’t Let Me Go + Where You Are, as well as Kirstin Cronn-Mills’ Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. Though the struggles these characters face are along the same lines, have things indeed improved in the years since When Love Comes to Town was released in Ireland?I’d like to think so, I really would. I’d also like to think, 25 years later, older and wiser, Neil is somewhere happy and warm and wholeheartedly loved.

  • Liviania
    2019-05-01 23:58

    This is the twentieth-anniversary edition of WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN, first published in Ireland in 1993. It's dated in some ways, particularly in protagonist Neil Byrne's love of Sinead O'Connor. But it's a book and a story that still has a lot to offer.Neil knows that he's gay. He's afraid of what that means for his future, but he's starting to explore what it means for himself. He tells his best friend, he tells his sister, and he starts to secretly visit a local gay bar. His actions lead to encounters with a variety of people, from drag queens to an older admirer to gay bashers.The appeal of WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN is not limited to gay teens or those interested in the history of gay literature. Neil's ill-fated romance with a self-absorbed jerk reminds me of several friend's early college relationships. There's always that guy, looking for someone not experienced enough to recognize his tricks, and Neil is not the first person fictional or real to fall for his charm. People are less afraid of AIDS and medicine has improved, but it's certainly a concern for anyone whose sexually active. And even if more of the world is accepting, coming out still isn't easy or always safe. Reading WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN, it's easy to see how far we've come and notice how far we've yet to go.This is a very dramatic novel and I was often afraid it was going to end up horribly depressing, but I feel that it ended with a note of hope. Neil not only comes to terms with himself, but also manages to make most of his friends and family come to terms with his identity. He's the poetic, introspective type and kind of pessimistic, despite his sporty credentials, but that doesn't make him a delicate flower. He grows into himself quite well.I hope a new generation will enjoy WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN. I enjoyed it and I certainly have no nostalgia about it. (It came out when I was four. I'm not that old.) It will probably appeal to fans of contemporary as well as historical fiction, since it was contemporary when it was written. And honestly, 1990 wasn't that long ago. (My birthday is approaching so sometimes I feel like I am that old.)The introduction by James Klise (LOVE DRUGGED) is informative and adds helpful context to WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN.

  • Bibliojunkies
    2019-05-19 18:57

    This is the 20th anniversary edition of When Love Comes To Town. At first I didn’t realize it was a re-issue. But I’m glad for it as I got the chance to experience a time and place as it was back then, not from memory but as it was happening.The foreword by James Klise provides a stark reminder that this book arrived on the scene before the act of famous people coming out of the closet was common place. That provided an interesting perspective as I read through one of the best and sweetest books on the subject.Neil truly is just one of the lads. He’s bright, personable, athletic and charming, surrounded by many friends though still feels separate from everyone because of what he is hiding. Lennon does a fantastic job laying out the path that Neil begins on as he gains the courage to be himself. He starts by revealing himself to one of his best friends, Becky. Her reaction and instant acceptance are a surprise and relief to him. Having at least one person know this secret that he’s held so close is like opening a floodgate encouraging him to be braver.He stumbles upon a gay bar in Dublin where he’s a little out of his element at first but ends up making new friends. As the story progresses, Neil balances between his two worlds – his gay friends and those closest to him and the rest of his oblivious family and friends.When Love Comes To Town is a lovely coming-of-age story told in a very compassionate way with thoughtfulness, candor and wit. I instantly took to Neil. He has a wonderful personality that is so welcoming and devoid of pretense. Yes I know that is odd to say considering how he’s been hiding his sexuality. But he’s such a genuine guy who is trying to come into his own. That’s a struggle every person goes through regardless of sexual orientation. And the story is not just about Neil. It’s also about the people around him who are learning to adjust to changes in their own lives and relationships. Neil’s observations are perceptive. His willing acceptance of some people’s reactions is remarkably generous considering how close-minded they are. I highly recommend When Love Comes To Town. It starts out with promise and delivers straight through the end.

  • Anna (Curiosity comes before Kay)
    2019-04-29 22:52

    Neil Byrne is just about to take his exams and go off to university in the Fall. He has plenty of great friends, has won the prize for English and seems to be just a regular teenage boy. But he's been keeping a secret from his ultra-conservative, Catholic friends and family - Neil is gay. Now with the future looming in front of him uncertainly, Neil spends most of the summer trying to figure out who he is and what it means to accept himself as he is, with no more lies. Can Neil tell his family and friends about being gay and will they treat him the same once he has? This was an interesting book to read. Apparently, the author was a teacher at a Catholic high school in Ireland. He wrote under a pseudonym to protect his job and this March will be the first time his novel has been published stateside. It was interesting to read a book about a teen who loved his family, God and his friends, but was unwilling in the end to give up who he was to make them happy. I really identified with Neil's struggles and greatly respected him for deciding to come out in the end, even though he knew it more than likely wouldn't be well received. Hie Mother did surprise me, and his sister Jackie. The rest of his family though, really proved the stereotypes of the 'good' Christians. His relationship with Shane and his crush on Ian, his new found friend Daphne/Eddie's battle with AIDS - all of it was well-done and realistic. The ending had me wanting to cry. Overall, it crosses the generational gap pretty well. I'm a couple removed and I could still relate, even with slightly dated technological references within the book. All the same, the themes never get outdated. Highly recommended to questioning/gay/friends or family of gay teens. Or even just for someone who wants a good read! I didn't love it, but it was definitely worthy of my time. :)VERDICT: 3.5/5 Stars**I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is March 1st, 2013.**

  • Reving
    2019-05-14 20:11

    The good old days weren't always good and today isn't as good as it should be, if you are a gay man or woman. There is still so much prejudice and hate. This is yet another reason why if a genie offered me three wishes, my first wish would be that all would know the true love of God. If everyone knew God's true words and Christ's teachings of love, there would be no hatred for anyone- especially hatred for gay folks, whose only "crime" is loving someone of the same sex! It all so bizarre to me. To think that loving could be wrong? Really? Really? To judge someone because they love someone? When Love Comes to Town is a tough story of a young man, just graduated from what would be high school here in the US, dealing with coming out. The book takes place in 1990, so I would hope that it is better for teens who are gay, but I know it isn't as good as it should be. Neil lives in Dublin and has some homophobic buddies, of course, the kind who sling around hateful words for gay men. He is sure that will be rejected if he tells the truth about who he is, yet, he knows he must. It's a new edition, so it works as a historical piece and also it has current appeal, because who knows how many young people are dealing with the worry that they won't be loved, if they tell the truth about whom they love. Great book, I will buy it for sure for the library. Personally, I am a goof and so any book set in any place other than the US is a little tough for me to love completely, so I gave it 4 of 5 stars on goodreads, instead of the full 5. Definitely recommend it though. And will continue to pray that one day...one day, we will all remember that it isn't WHOM we love, its THAT we love, which is important!

  • Vanessa Gao
    2019-04-25 21:12

    originally from my blog: http://just-sitting-thar.blogspot.com...3.75 stars**THIS REVIEW IS BASED ON A THIRTEEN-CHAPTER PREVIEW OF WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN THANSK TO ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY (ARC PROVIDED BY NETGALLEY)**I've never read a gay/lesbian romance before, so honestly, I didn't know what to expect coming into this. Even with no standards, When Love Comes To Town still manages to sweep me off my feet. I am a perfectly straight person, however, Neil's story of his struggles as a gay person still deeply touches me, which I consider a great success on the author's part. The book wants to attract as big an audience as possible, after all.The characters in this book are very relatable, and I personally really enjoy being brought back to the 90s. The narration is very detailed, which I'm not usually so hot about, but this time it worked just fine for me--it is these details that show how SCARED Neil is of coming out, of becoming the person that he truly wants to be. On a grander scale, this not only applies to all that who are still awaiting the perfect time to declare their homosexuality, it is also an acute description of young adult life in general. How many of us have fidgeted and worried ourselves sick over one little thing that might have turned out absolutely trivial? How many of us have fought to voice our true thoughts? I think in this aspect, the author does a phenomenal job of writing a very sensitive yet mature voice.One little thing that kept it from being a perfect read: since the story was written in the last decade, the culture back then is much less accepting of homosexuality, so there are some cultural beliefs that are somewhat outdated, which takes away from the modern-day reading experience.

  • Pamela (slytherpuff)
    2019-04-26 17:05

    See more of my reviews at Bettering Me Up.I recently re-read my one-star review of a previous coming-out novel. In it, I mentioned that maybe I just didn't "get it" because I am neither gay nor guy. That is clearly not the case here; it's exactly the kind of book I had hoped to read last time.Though this book was first published twenty years ago--and the stigma surrounding homosexuality has lessened since then--I never felt like I was reading an "old" story. Yeah, it's easier to meet people on-line or within established gay communities, but I imagine that coming out is still difficult.Take, for instance, Neil. An 18-year-old Catholic boy in Ireland, he has always known that he was gay. But knowing and being are two completely separate states of mind. On the outside, Neil is an excellent student and star rugby player. He's happy and quick with a smile. He has a nice group of friends, nice parents, a nice house, and nice brothers and sisters. It's all very...nice.But on the inside? Oh.so.much.turmoil. Not that you can blame him. This poor kid can't talk to anyone about who he really is.I loved reading about Neil's journey as he discovered more about himself, opened up to his friends and family, and tested the waters of the teeny-tiny gay community in Dublin. There's no fairy tale ending, and I ugly cried during the last chapter, but you get the sense that things will work out for Neil. I do think that the ending was a little abrupt, which is why I am only giving it four stars.I highly recommend this book for fans of David Levithan and John Green.I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  • Sally
    2019-04-23 19:09

    I didn't really enjoy this to be honest. It's just not the type of book I'm most often interested in. It's very bleak and I found Neil's internal narration to be a bit flighty at times. It's an interesting look at Ireland in the 1990s, and at the gay scene at the time, but a lot of the queer characters started to feel too much like stereotypes and not real enough. I'd have liked to have seen more of 'Penelope' and 'Gladys' and a lot less of 'Uncle Sugar'... and definitely more of 'Daphne' who was the most vivid of the bunch and kind of reminded me of Angel from Rent. She was hysterical. It's very of the time though. It wasn't just set in the 90s, it was written then, which kind of makes it even sadder because that's what it was really like, you know?Also Neil had so many siblings I couldn't keep track of them all except for Jackie! Whose treatment of the queens kind of rubbed me up the wrong way - they seemed like toys to her and as nice as she was, it felt like she was mocking them.The attitudes of Neil's parents were really sad as well. Like, you're our son and we love you and we're okay if you're gay BUT you can't do "any of those queer things" like, you know, be with another guy. WTF guys. I know that's more realistic though than like parents who just nod and go okay like you've told them you bought a new t-shirt or something inconsequential and then ask what you'd like for dinner that night. (My mother, everybody! She da bomb.)All up, depressing and gritty and a bit too blunt at times for the likes of me. Interesting and quick - sometimes a bit too rushed, alas - but it just didn't fully click.