by Ally Blue, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-573-X
Catching A Buzz is a gay romance that is too much at times like a typical slash fiction for its own good.
Our hero Adam Holderman is a closeted son of typical Southern prim and proper folks. He's currently working at the Wild Waters theme park. Buzz Stiles is the goth type of person who shows up for work one day and lures Adam into a relationship all about how opposites attract. Of course, these two men have one overriding trait that they have in common - they are stereotypes when it comes to gay love stories penned by women authors for predominantly female readers.
Adam is probably like too many main protagonists in these stories - probably too cynical for his own good. He often protests too hard about dating and what-not. Poor Adam frequently comes off like a whiny nag. Buzz is the more "honest" and "free" type of character. They are pretty familiar archetypes when it comes to slash stories and gay romances written too much in the style of these slash stories. The thing about stories written too much like slash is that, in the case of Adam and Buzz, they seem to be too self-absorbed to be convincingly in love. There is a degree of overanalyzing of emotions that overshadows the already little chemistry that the two men have. Adam and Buzz don't come off like men as much as they come off like two sensitive little girls with big angsts trapped in men's bodies. I won't be surprised to learn that they both have MySpace pages which they use to rant and moan about the world.
There is nothing wrong with slash fiction, of course, but Catching A Buzz, being a professionally published work, probably should have aimed to be something a little more lofty than a work comparable to the creation of the fertile minds of young ladies on the Livejournal and FanFiction circuit.
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