FROM MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW:
Teenager Nate doesn't see himself as gay, but he's still exploring his sexual identity. He sees himself as a normal teen in flux and believes his infatuation with boys is likely a passing phase of his life before he ultimately settles down with a girl. But is this really a 'phase'? What if it isn't temporary?
A Passing Phase is an absorbing, realistic exploration of a teen's realization that his sexuality is heading towards an inevitable, singular identity that doesn't fit with his perceptions of how his adult life will evolve.
What begins as an attraction turns into something more consistent than Nate's ever known - and something that will change his ideas of family and connections in unexpected ways.
In some ways A Passing Phase is a typical teen coming-of-age story: Picture Catcher in the Rye's grittiness with a heavier dose of sexual description. In other ways it's an in-depth story covering perceptions of right, wrong, social and religious expectations, and what happens when a teen's evolution doesn't fit into anticipated paradigms.
Is Nate's secret relationship with a boy a sin? What's the difference between fun, 'messing around', and a more serious, committed path in life that deviates from everything Nate has been taught to value? Such a struggle would be too hard, and so Nate rejects the possibility after running it by others and decides to change his apparent sexual direction.
At the heart of A Passing Phase is the question of whether sexuality is a choice or a pre-programmed, innate trait unique to every individual. Nate believes that, with enough determination and desire, he can change, and his efforts revolve around this objective. Pressured on all sides by friends, family, social norm and opinion, and a cast of often oddball characters, Nate must find his way through a virtual quagmire of opinions and social pressures in order to achieve and understand his true self.
What will give Nate the greatest freedom? Readers should anticipate a number of graphic sexual encounters as Nate embarks on the process of pulling his life and persona together. His interactions with men, women, and the dating scene are realistically portrayed and his different, difficult family relationships are crafted in scenes that portray the fallout of his decisions.
The result is a vivid saga, especially recommended for readers of sexual coming-of-age stories open to the idea of a teen discovering who he really is and what constitutes a 'passing phase' versus a permanent, true direction."
FROM INDIE READER:
***4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS*** A young man tries to figure out who he is in the process of undergoing therapy to make him heterosexual.
Nate is sure that his sexual interest in other guys is just a passing phase. But when he starts to realize it isn’t – that he might actually be gay – he faces not only rejection from his best friend and his deeply religious mother, but also his own internal conflict. Deciding that the best solution is to make himself heterosexual, he enters therapy and seeks out relationships with girls. But can he really change himself so drastically? And what will happen to him if he doesn’t?
A Passing Phase is a touching and affectionate look at a young man’s self-discovery, which despite its serious subject matter, manages moments of wry wit and laugh-out-loud humor as well. Nate is an entirely likable protagonist, and his fears and self-doubts are thoroughly understandable. Watching him grow into a mature adult with the ability to stand up for himself and who he is and wants to be is heartwarming. And while the situations he finds himself in have a decidedly humorous side, in many cases they also bring a deeper emotional tone to the book, and to Nate’s character. His encounters with the women he tries to date, each of whom has her own issues, and with his other friends, show him as the genuinely decent soul he is.
A Passsing Phase is a tender coming-of-age story about sexuality, identity, love and what defines a person’s worth and moral value.
FROM READER VIEWS:
In A Passing Phase by J. Paul Devlin, protagonist Nate is a high school senior who is trying to come to grips with his sexual orientation. Nate has had several sexual encounters with guys, has tried relationships with girls, and still is confused. Determined not to be gay, Nate decides he will see the therapist his overbearing mother wants him to see. The therapist believes 100% in conversion therapy and that the feelings Nate has for other guys is just really animal lust. His therapist tells him to look at girls/women only and when he feels attracted to a male to view him as a “serial killer,” or “terrorist.” He even recommends that Nate go to a weekend retreat with others who have overcome homosexuality or are trying to do so. What Nate doesn’t understand is that not all people who are in a recovery (sort of) program are truly 100% that way and the experience ends up being a disaster. But Nate is determined to be an ex-gay guy, whatever that is.
A Passing Phase is an incredible story that is very well written and readers will experience a variety of emotions. This reviewer was laughing and crying, feeling enraged, and wanting to slap his mother and therapist. It captures what many of our homosexual and/or straight individuals go through during their lives and how, for some, being straight is more accepting in society than being homosexual. Readers will definitely be able to relate to the characters in the story and identify with several of the situations Nate, his friends, and family experience.
The author writes with a passion that shows he really loves what he is writing about and is willing to put it all out there even though some may not agree with him. He allows readers into the mind of Nate and hope they will cheer him on as he finds his true self. From the beginning of the book until the very last page, readers will be captivated. I thoroughly enjoyed A Passing Phase and I hope to read more books from J. Paul Devlin.