Book Reviews

A Mark on My Soul by Jordon Greene at Franklin/Kerr Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Young Adult / Romance / Bittersweet / Drama
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 16-April-2019

Book Blurb

Noah Andrews hates to lie, but that's exactly what his life is. One big lie. 

At least that's how he feels as a nerdy, closeted, gay high school senior in a suburban North Carolina town.

But after months of fretting and hiding behind his quotes, Noah finally does it. He comes out to the world, and realizes he had nothing to fear after all. With his lies behind him Noah is ready to take on his new future.

On the same night Noah gets a message from an anonymous boy with a crush on him, and all his dreams begin to come true.

But is Noah truly ready for what life has planned for him?


Book Review

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." —Allen Saunders (American writer, journalist and cartoonist), 1957

Some people have the ability to “leave a mark” on someone else’s soul, and this is the heartbreaking story of one such case. The main character is eighteen-year-old Noah who discovers the joy and exhilaration of first love, the accompanying emotions of hope and optimism, and the utter devastation that follows when circumstances (and a**hole people!) take it all away. I wish I could say this is only fiction and real life is better than that – but I can’t. The realism is part of what makes this such a powerful novel – both the good parts and the bad. Let me warn you: it is not an easy book to read, but it is a story that needs to be told until the kind of hatred causing this type of cruelty and heartbreak stops.

Noah is a pretty typical teenager in many ways. He goes to high school, has some excellent friends, worries about what college he will pick, and has lots of drama in his head and on social media to deal with. His inner monologue and the way he approaches situations are very realistic, and I found the mix of humor, snark, thoughtfulness, and beginning self-awareness fascinating. It is a good reminder of what it was like to be in high school. What is a little less typical about Noah is the huge secret he has been carrying with him for the last six years: he is gay. All his angst turns out to be much worse before than after he comes out and even though he sort of knows he will be all right, that does not take away the horror (for him) of baring his soul to the world.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the details of what happens once he comes out. Much of it turns out to be a nonevent, but finding love with an unexpected partner is the focus of much of the rest of the book. Noah’s friends are wonderful, but Noah soon learns that not everyone is as open-minded as those (including his parents) who support him. It is a harsh lesson with deadly consequences and I have to admit that I did not see the finality of the ending coming until pretty late in the book. I was angry, I was devastated, and I cried… partly because this is a well-written tale, but mostly because situations like Noah’s are still much too frequent, even in 2019.

If you like stories that help you understand, on a very profound level, how others feel, if the intensity of youth in both good and bad situations is your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is as realistic as it is emotionally draining, then you will probably rate it as highly as I do. I can’t say it’s a book I enjoyed, and I don’t think that is why Jordon Greene wrote it, but I am glad that he did. I just wish the people who need to understand guys like Noah would read it too!





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 309 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-April-2019
Price $3.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
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