Friday, March 30, 2018

Release Day Review: Oskar Blows a Gasket by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

oskar newTitle ~ Oskar Blows a Gasket

Author ~ Claire Davis & Al Stewart

Publisher ~ Beaten Track Publishing

Published ~ 30th March 2018

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, New Adult





Oskar Braithwaite is bold, brash and gorgeous. Just ask him.
Armed with designer backpack full of make-up and retro music galore, Oskar sets off for college. And, with attitude even spikier than his heels, nothing is going to hold him back. Except maybe one thing…his past is shouting louder than the 80s songs he adores and it won't be ignored. Behind the effervescence are secrets, lies and sadness. Try as he might, not even Oskar can hide forever, and one day it isn't only pop icon Simon Le Bon who's going to catch up.
Who is writing letters? And why is a spy secretly following?
Enter Bear, with dancing eyes and secrets of his own. Bear's kindness sparkles brighter than Lycra leggings, and everyone knows Oskar loves shiny things. Like every prophecy, their fates seem inevitably linked. As the walls of Oskar's defence crumble, Bear shows his hidden strength, but will it be enough to save them?
Find out in this far-out, zany tale of fame, first love and retro DJs.


Debra’s Review

Having spent my formative years in the 80’s with Duran Duran posters on my wall, how could I resist this book? The fact that I recently discovered this writing duo with the five star read Dear Mona Lisa… didn’t hurt either. Outside of being wonderfully written and very entertaining, this was quite different than my first read from this talented writing team.

Oskar and Bear meet as Oskar is fighting off a panic attack in the bathroom of the train station on his way to start college. It just so happens that Bear is heading to the same school and the two strike off together to find that their accommodations are not what they expected. So begins this story of two seemingly opposite young men becoming friends and eventually boyfriends. This story is so much more than a simple romance since both have a lot of emotional, family baggage to deal with. Their pasts are revealed slowly and interestingly and Oskar is about to have his world rocked.

Oskar is … unique. He’s brash, sassy, flamboyant, and a drama queen who wants to be the center of attention as long as you don’t get too personal. He may also be the son of Simon Le Bon, whose poster he talks to when he needs guidance. Underneath that fa├žade is an 18 year old boy who is insecure and grieving. He’s also confused by his attraction to Bear and that leads to even more erratic behavior as he tries to push Bear away at one moment and accepts his comfort the next. There were times when Oskar’s actions made him quite unlikable, but having his POV and the fact that Bear is such a stabilizing force tempered that initial reaction. He’s actually a very loyal boy who has been beaten down by his life.

Bear, so named by Oskar who refuses to even hear Bear’s real name, is the anti-Oskar. He is quiet, shy and obviously caring. He wants Oskar to like him and is eager to please him. Bear tells Oskar that he understands the difficulties he faces more than Oskar knows and he quickly sees through Oskar’s armor (even though he more than appreciates the makeup and daring outfits). Bear’s situation is a mystery at first since the story starts solely from Oskar’s POV, but there’s no denying that he’s a sweetheart.

Aside from Oskar’s POV (and later in the story Bear’s) there are letters that open the chapters. First we read Gareth’s letters to his father. Gareth is a boy sent to boarding school and abandoned. His pleas to his father, desperate, angry and longing to be loved, are hard to read as he describes his loneliness, feelings of being an outsider and the harassment he suffers. In later chapters Oskar’s letters to his family are revealed. I loved this as a device to learn more about these boys and their difficult family relationships since it really put their true feelings to words that otherwise weren’t spoken.

This is a fantastic coming of age story with both Bear and Oskar facing their pasts, learning that they are stronger than they think and that love and support can come from the most unlikely person. Aside from the love story is the mystery of who is watching the boys and what do they want, which results in some humorous spy missions, and getting to know the group of girls that share the hostel floor with Oskar and Bear. The writing is very British and the characters and storyline are refreshingly different. There were a few moments that were surprising and didn’t go the way I expected, some lump in the throat and tears in the eyes moments too, but it all results in a very happy ending for the group. Does Simon Le Bon make an appearance? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out.

Purchase Links




Connect with the Authors

Claire Davis lives in the beautiful UK. She works full time and reads whenever she gets a spare five minutes.

Al Stewart - Originally from an enormous housing estate in the south of England.
Early influences include male ballet dancers or anyone in tights, Robin Hood, and all my sister's boyfriends.
Have written poetry from a young age but fairly recently moved on to books about ordinary people.
I'm crippling awful at talking about myself but can draw a horse.

Claire Davis and Al Stewart write about people who are not perfect. Their work is there for a fusion of dark and good, mixed often with kink and humour.



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