Winter Song
by Barbara Sheridan and Anne Cain, contemporary (2007)
Loose Id, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-387-2

The Japanese pop music scene is, honestly, a big scary place to me. All those effeminate men give me the creeps because half the time their music is terrible and they look like they will steal all my eyeliners when they are not making love to their own reflections in the mirror. Winter Song is the first book in the series by Barbara Sheridan and Anne Cain, ChildsPrey, which revolves around the loves and lives of members of a Japanese boyband.

There are five girly boys in ChildsPrey. In Winter Song the two guitarists Jun Doi (whose name, unfortunately, is phonetically more or less similar to the Cantonese phrase for testicles) and Koji Takasoto are making eyes and more at each other so there are at least two men keeping it within the band. Rock on, boys. Actually, Kyoru and Toru, the other two band members, aren't above getting down with each other as well but they are just friends with benefits while Jun and Koji end up being pretty serious, often melodramatically so, about their true love forever thing.

The level of seriousness intensifies to a newer heights during the band's hiatus when Jun is having the blues over his estranged wife taking off along with the kids on a Switzerland trip with her American boyfriend. Even if the members of ChildsPrey have partied with female groupies as well as each other in past, Koji is itching to tell Jun that he likes men more than women and he has the hots for Jun. Don't ask me how these guys manage to come up with the concept that "I shag boys" is different in some way from "I like to shag boys". It must be some kind of macho-guy thing.

Anyway, Koji would love to give Jun some TLC but he is afraid that expressing his secret desires may ruin his friendship with Jun. Likewise, Jun is feeling the stirrings of desire for Koji but oh, those silly boys. Now that their emotions are involved, it's suddenly so difficult to pull down their pants and party.

I confess that I have a good laugh over the "deep" and "moody" lyrics of a song that is featured in this story. I also find Koji too much like some kind of child. A part of me wonders whether he will show up eventually in a schoolgirl's uniform and do a Sailormoon pose with stars sparkling and flying out of his shiny dinner plate eyes. Koji behaves a little too much like a codependent weirdo at times and his thought processes are often too sappy for me. He plays the agony aunt under a pseudonym to their fans, of all things, and feels this urge to confide to someone his blues because he's clearly so sensitive that way.

I am down today. There's someone I've loved for a long time. My friend was married, but is separated and will most likely divorce. I want to see my friend smile again, but I don't know what to do. We work together, and if my love was revealed, and this person didn�t feel the same, it would ruin things between us and with our co-workers. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. You and Don enjoy your holiday from school!

That is not how an adult man would write in my opinion. That is more like the latest "profound" thoughts of a thirteen-year old girl in her Livejournal.

The overwhelming "this is a story written for thirteen-year old emo girls to read and shriek in delight over" feel of Winter Song ends up really making it hard for me to get into this story. I hope that future books in this series will not come off as if they are populated by cosplaying thirteen-year old girls recreating their favorite slash fiction.

Rating: 52

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