Reviewed by Molly Martin
by Josh Aterovis
Regal Crest Enterprises
Paperback: 208 pages, December 2003, ISBN-13: 978-1932300192
Josh Aterovis’ Bleeding Hearts introduces readers to the son of a home-grown, homophobic local District Attorney. Sixteen-year-old Killian Kendall has never been particularly popular with his classmates, nonetheless he does have three friends, Zach, Jesse and Asher, with whom he pals around. They are friends at school and away from school as well.
Immediate problems erupt when Killian make friends with a new classmate. Zach and Jesse are irate that Killian is talking with a gay person. Asher is troubled and is not sure precisely why. With his parents divorced, Seth Connelly, has just come to live with his father. Seth is an agreeable young man who has decided he has to be who he is, and, if his being gay is problematic for others then so be it.
Josh Aterovis has fashioned a nicely crafted work complete with teenaged anxiety, homophobic reactions at their worst and the problems facing many in our culture as they come to recognize their own sexual orientation. Bleeding Hearts presents a view of a young man coping not only with the usual teenaged confusion as befalls all kids trying to sort out who and what they are, but also one who is unexpectedly faced with the realization that he is gay.
While Bleeding Hearts is a novel and not particularly meant to be an analytical portrayal, Aterovis has skillfully given us a peek into what youngsters face as they step into a not always friendly adult world. In the manner of Dorien Grey and his Dick Hardesty series, Aterovis has crafted a group of characters who are very credible. From the imperious homophobic father, the demoralized mother and on to the optimistic girlfriend, as well as each of the other actors in this work; the individuals are not always likeable. They are, however, plausible, well-fleshed and convincing. Dialogue is authentic. Entwined into this narrative of a young man’s coming out is the mystery regarding who is slaying the fellows Killian befriends. Bleeding Hearts is an interesting, compelling read, happy to recommend for the home, school and public library as well as for the counselor book shelf as a book to aid troubled youngsters with whom they may be working.
Reviewed by molly martin
35+ years classroom teacher