Coming Home - M J O'Shea Coming Home is a three star story, that had the potential to be so much more. Where it should have dealt with notions of anger, resentment and redemption, instead forgiveness and acceptance was doled out far too easily making Tally and Lex’s relationship much sweeter than it should have been (and much duller).

I recently read Unintended, also by O‘Shea and Coming Home caught my attention for it’s premise and yes, it’s pretty cover. Unintended was also a three star story for me, but it suited my mood and with it’s $0.99 price tag was great for an afternoon escape into literary land. I paid $5.38 for Coming Home - I am guessing of which most went to an astute copy editor since proper grammar and paragraph construction is really the only aspect where O’Shea’s writing improved.

As with Unintended, O’Shea does a good job of capturing the youthful fun of teenage torment and love, the difference being that in Coming Home Lex and Tally are 28 and 32 respectively. Yet they display emotions and reactions as men on the verge of adulthood, giving this book a very Young Adult / New Adult feel to it. Honestly, I am still not sure how to categorize O’Shea’s works. My first reaction is to move them to the Young Adult column, a lot of the sex in her books are glazed over or alluded to and the premises of the books deal with issues one would encounter in high school or college. However, there is enough detailed sexual encounters and situations that as a parent I would not want my young adult children reading this, which makes me move it into the New Adult column.

Furthermore, the lack of any real obstacles to the main characters’ relationship was shockingly disappointing. O’Shea had so much to work with here, but glazed over serious opportunities to make her work stand out. Tally relentlessly bullied Lex through high school, years later Lex gives down on his luck, Tally an opportunity no else is willing to. Lex recognizes Tally, but Tally does not recognize Lex and to further complicate the relationship, Tally has a disgraced, deceased father and a homophobic mother - all elements that should build angst and tension, leading to a climax in the story arc. Not so, any irritating obstacle that could jeopardize Tally and Lex’s relationship is resolved in the first third of the book. What follows for the other 70%? A sweet easy romance, briefly interrupted by a soap opera-esque devised incident and an HEA.

I will compliment O’Shea for juxtaposing the school days bullying and feeling of isolation with the bullying and isolation Tally and Lex face from the town for their sexual orientation. Painting small town myopic mentality as the real bully was well done.

All in all I probably wouldn’t be so harsh on this book had it not been for the price tag. Tally and Lex’s story is a sweet and easy romance that distracted me nicely for a couple of summer afternoons. At the same time, I think it is a glaring example of the brazenness of publishers these days to retail a mediocre 230 page book for over five dollars due to the growing popularity of the genre. I realize everyone has to make a living, but a price tag should represent the value of what a consumer is purchasing. Coming Home is a $2.99 maybe $3.99 value for the read. And that’s my five dollars and thirty eight cents on the subject.

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