Official Review: Beneath the Surface

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Official Review: Beneath the Surface

Post by Cecilia_L »

[Following is an official review of "Beneath the Surface" by Andrew Teague McCollister.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Beneath the Surface by Andrew Teague McCollister is a fictional coming-of-age story that is inspired by the life of the author. The timeline jumps to different pivotal events that are depicted in five connected short stories featuring Conner Mills, a scholarly champion swimmer in the process of exploring and accepting his sexuality.

McCollister begins the book with a preface that offers insight into his writing and how it has evolved over the years. The book's title strongly parallels McCollister's reflective writing style. The 134-page story traverses themes of acceptance, gay sexuality, mental health, depression, rejection, fear, suicide, loss, grief, and love.

McCollister's story hosts a diverse cast of relatable characters, including Conner's parents, friends, and lovers. The first story, "Bathroom," gives readers a glimpse into teenage Conner, as well as his mother, who attempts to protect him by initially keeping her cancer diagnosis from him. McCollister realistically portrays the scenario when Conner's mother reveals that she has received treatment; her thirteen-year-old son appears insensitive, but he is wrestling with blaming himself: "The only thing I felt was disappointment about myself. For a year, I believed that she missed work three times a week to go shopping. For a year, I didn't ask about the medicine that made her hair fall out." Incidentally, McCollister devotes the book to his parents and describes them as "The Best Parents a Child Could Ask For."

I especially like McCollister's talent for crafting eloquent passages that invite rereading: "As soon as you spoke, I knew it was a perfect fit. Your name was beautiful, but Claire seemed to capture you, all of you. So fragile, mysterious, strong, and beautiful, all wrapped in a song-like package." In my favorite story, "The Beach at Sunset," McCollister poignantly reveals Conner's pain from a recent loss and how his buried grief affects his perception and interactions with others. On a lighter note, the story also makes me long for a day at the beach!

While most of the stories refer to Conner's sex life, McCollister tastefully leaves much to the imagination. There isn't anything I dislike about the book, but I will caution sensitive readers that the book contains profanity, nonexplicit sexual content, drug use, and references to suicide.

It is my pleasure to rate Beneath the Surface 4 out of 4 stars.The professionally edited book is insightful and beautifully written. I recommend it to those who enjoy coming-of-age stories and LGBT readers. Sensitive readers who object to any of the content previously mentioned may prefer to pass on this one.

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Post by Ondijo Elvis »

Job well done,am convinced to look for the book one of these days
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Post by Cecilia_L »

Ondijo Elvis wrote: 21 Feb 2020, 13:53 Job well done,am convinced to look for the book one of these days
Thank you.
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Post by Leen282 »

Thanks for the review, the book touches on a lot of heavy topics. I will add it to my shelves for the day I am courageous enough to pick it up.
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Post by Erick Muyesu »

Well written review. I am glad that the author chose to address crucial themes of acceptance, gay sexuality, mental health, depression, rejection, fear, suicide, loss, grief, and love in his work which are very relevant in our contemporary society. I will create time and read this book some other time. Congratulations to the author on BOTD
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Post by Kachi_Ejiogu+_ »

Sounds to me like an interesting read. Having to talk about contemporary issues like depression, gay, rejection and suicide to mention but a few, is quite commendable. Thank you for an honest review.!
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Post by Manang Muyang »

The sample is limited to the preface, which starts with the author's parents having an argument about satisfaction. Will any person ever be satisfied? I don't know if the book will give a satisfactory answer to that question. Hmmm, most intriguing!
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Post by Bles »

Beneath the Surface by Andrew Teague McCollister seems to me as an interesting book. The author has tackled so many themes, some which are sensitive. I'm definitely going to give this book a shot. Congratulations to the author on the BOTD. Great review!
Last edited by Bles on 26 Apr 2020, 09:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Ferdinand_Otieno »

This is an amazing fictional coming of age story highlighting acceptance, gay sexuality, mental health, depression, rejection, fear, suicide, grief, and love. The book is free on Kindle Unlimited and has an awesome OnlineBookClub review. Congrats @ATMcCollister1 on the BOTD.
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Post by Amy+++ »

The book has a lot of powerful insights based on the author's life, however this book isn't my genre so I am going to pass.
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Post by Ivona R »

I really enjoy reading books that include (or are inspired by) thoughts and experiences of real people. This book touches upon some serious topics. I'm glad to see mental health is a relevant topic not only on social media, but also in literature, particularly in this day and age. Also, it's always nice and inspiring to read a well written review. :)
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Post by Psamist »

Great book to read as the different themes the author talks about in his life. The love of a mother towards his son is exceptional.
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Post by Deyandimov »

I find the plot of the book interesting, although sometimes the action was a bit slowly moving forward. I’m more into fast paced books probably that is why I didn’t like this one so much.
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Post by Petra1989 »

With this great review I can only imagine how deep and intense the book is. With the glimpse of it from your quotations I must admit I am intrigued. It is so refreshing to see authors comfortable enough to speak about their own experiences especially on subjects that affect building newer more compassionate society. Great job in to comprehending all of this.
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Post by VictorKE »

Nice review. The book sounds interesting and informative. The author has dealt with the current issues affecting the entire world.
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