Book Reviews

When I Grow Up (Tales from Foster High) by John Goode at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / New Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 22-November-2022

Book Blurb

After graduation, Kyle Stilleno and Brad Graymark move to California to pursue their dreams. But high school sweethearts are called that for a reason, and their love rarely stands up to the test of time. As money, school, sex, and jealousy test their relationship to the breaking point, Kyle and Brad fight to hold on to the love that brought them together.

But when a frantic phone call sends them back to Texas, they discover love and understanding might not be enough this time.



First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2015.


Book Review

Considering I was practically biting my nails (something I've never done) at the end of the previous book in the 'Tales from Foster High' series, it's no wonder I was almost afraid to begin this book. Kyle, Brad, and all of Foster, Texas, have run me through the wringer so many times that it's no wonder I grab a Kleenex before opening to page one. I honestly wasn't sure my heart could handle the turmoil if something really bad happened between my two favorite new adults.

"Life sucks and, no matter how old a person is, it never makes sense. There’s no instruction manual. Living on your own and paying your own bills isn’t going to give you secret knowledge. If you had just admitted you were adult fuck-ups when people like me were kids, then we might be ready for all the crap when we graduated." ~ Kyle

Sorry Kyle but it's not until you're out on your own, living as an adult, that you realize it isn't as easy and carefree as you thought it would be. I have always loved the way the author writes these books with both Kyle and Brad's point of view. It was so easy to see how the crumbling began when they were far from home and on their own. Yes, it's what they wanted, but they're still young and communication seems to have flown out the window once they got to Berkley. Kyle doesn't think Brad is taking their new life, i.e. Kyle's school responsibilities, serious enough, and Brad feels like he's going to end up just waiting every day for Kyle to come home, i.e. like the family dog.

"Landmines seemed to have popped up all around the apartment, and we were both discovering them. I didn’t want to go back to school no matter what; he didn’t want to try anything I liked doing; he hated the fact I was obsessive about the way I kept my clothes; and I was tired of watching documentaries on Netflix." ~ Brad

Oh my. It was painful to watch. Kyle's insecurities and Brad's insecurities plus lack of communication along with each wondering whether they really had anything in common or not, almost had me on the verge of tears. Of course, listening to other people's opinions wasn't helping the situation at all. These young men had been through so much I hated to see what was happening. Kyle didn't think it could get any worse until life blindsided him and he flew home to Foster. I could've told him that life sucks and when you least expect it the worst things you imagined are going to truly happen.

“Kyle is amazing, but at the end of the day, he’s a nineteen-year-old kid and prone to nineteen-year-old drama. Brad on the surface looks like nothing special, but his devotion to Kyle is something out of a fairy tale. He keeps Kyle centered, and Kyle keeps Brad motivated. I’m convinced that together they could do anything; apart, they’re just two teenagers with their heads up their asses.” ~ Robbie

I know I've said this before about many of the books in this series but I LOVED IT! Part of what I loved so much is how there are truly good, decent, wonderful people in Foster, Texas, who were there in force to support and help Kyle and Brad. Robbie and Sebastian came from Long Island, Jennifer, Tyler, Matt, Gayle, Coach Gunn, Sheriff Taylor, and so many more were there, offering their love and support. It was wonderful, beautiful, and heartbreaking, all at the same time. John Goode, you killed it and the ending? Priceless.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first edition of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 268 pages/99665 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-November-2022
Price $6.99 ebook, $19.99 paperback
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