Rick Harris finds himself back at a place he never thought he’d return—the Atonement Camp. With Marilyn now serving as camp director, Rick turns away from his empty home—and his equally vacant pursuits with headless online suiters—to accept a job teaching at the camp. With Garrett missing, Rick and his friends soon learn that there’s more to the jobs they were offered than they were led to believe.
Meanwhile, Missy Bottom seeks revenge against Rick and those who thwarted her plan: to invalidate the New Revelation and gain her esteemed Luminary membership. Caught in the middle of warring factions of Luminaries and camp spies, Rick and his friends struggle to uncover Missy’s plans while concealing their true purpose at camp from those who begin to suspect their teaching credentials are somewhat lacking.
Old enemies become allies as Rick and his friends are forced to choose between those who would seek to invalidate the New Revelation and sacrifice all the newfound LGBTQ freedoms that came with it, and those who would leverage the ancient teaching for retribution. Rick faces an equally intractable decision—whom does he truly love? And why? Rick soon learns that the answer to those questions may be the key to solving more than one problem.
Thoughts and Themes: I had been seeing the first book in this series all over Instagram but I hadn’t read it since I don’t really read adult books since I am scared I won’t understand it. I decided to give this a chance though because of what it is about, when I struggle with my religion and faith all I want is books that tell me something different than what I have been hearing. I keep thinking what would happen if the world really did move in this direction and not just some parts of the world but mainly the Catholic portions of the world.
There was so much parts of this book along with the first book that I really enjoyed and winded up highlighting so much of the book because of that. I kept highlighting a lot of points because they resonated with me as Rick is finding out who he is now that he is out as a Gay man and what he wants when it comes to a relationship.
There was a portion in the start of the book that did make me almost put it down but that quickly turned around because what I believed was wrong when it came to that character. I am so glad that I continued reading because I got what I wanted from this book.
Characters: There are many characters who are introduced throughout this book and I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep track of them all. Don’t worry about that though, they all have their unique quirks which makes it easier to separate them. I think that Rick probably has a harder time separating each of them in his head than we readers do and when you read this you’ll see why I say that.
Something that I found a little frustrating was how quickly Rick moved on from one guy to another. I thought it was unrealistic how quick that transition was for all of his partners as well and how no one really communicated their feelings. I also was a little concerned with how his relationships felt very shallow because of all of this even if he insisted he loved Jimmy and had strong feelings for Ryan. I also thought that the transition from ex to friends was also really quick and I know this is the norm for queer relationships but I felt that some wouldn’t so quickly turn to friends after the feelings they supposedly had.
Writing Style: This book is written in third person with a narrator that follows around each of the characters. I was a bit hesitant about this at first but in the end I feel that this is a great way to keep you in the loop as to what is happening on all parties sides. I also think that we don’t get a lot of the interactions that Missy is having or any of the luminaries so the story isn’t entirely ruined when we get a glimpse into what they are up to.
Evan is a member of the LGBTQ community who fancies himself as a playboy socialite, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Between work and lucid moments of sobriety, he writes a little. His debut novel is a light-hearted work that still manages to confront religious hypocrisy and contemporary LGBTQ struggles to balance their loss of culture with new-found civil rights. His friends say the book is great! Hopefully, you will as well.