Book Reviews

Cicadas: A Totally Ordinary Epic Love Story by Avery Cockburn

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Mature Lovers / Romance
Reviewed by Barb on 21-June-2024

Book Blurb

What if you had a second chance at a second chance?

One day in 1987

Budding scientist Joel and cowboy-quarterback Danny meet amid the arrival of seventeen-year cicadas. Like the loud, lusty insects, the boys bond through song, reveling in the heat and hope of early summer—until fate tears them apart.

One night in 2004

During the next wave of cicadas, Joel and Dan find their connection stronger than ever. Boyhood fascination becomes an irresistible (and inconvenient!) passion, one that will unite and divide them for another seventeen years.

One love to last a lifetime

At the dawn of 2021, Joel and Daniel reach out, and in a heartbeat, the years and miles between them fall away. But to make their next reunion last forever, they must face their troubled pasts and embrace their boundless future.


Book Review

A must-read story. Avery Cockburn delivers the promise of a totally ordinary epic love story – but told with a twist. These men meet back in 1987 as teens and then again in 2004 and finally in 2021, and each meeting coincides with the emergence of cicadas from their seventeen-year slumber. In a way, this was like a flashback (or two) but it was done in a unique progression of time – seventeen-year leaps -- with only snippets of visits and life updates between each meeting and then vignettes of where the men’s lives were during every cicada cycle.


The author’s talent for descriptive prose was out of the ordinary with colorful and unique metaphors and similes, two intertwining and often parallel life stories, and plenty of both humor and heartache along the way.


Joel and Daniel aka Dan aka Danny (depending on his age and Joel’s sense of humor) were engaging and entertaining and absolutely ordinary—or maybe that should be extraordinary—young men whose lives progress from seventeen to thirty-four to fifty-one years of age before their paths cross permanently. Or, at least, one hopes they’ll be together forever in real time since they will be in my heart.


The story is long but it’s also just the perfect length. I was enraptured by not only Joel’s and Daniel’s lives but by the lives of the cicadas. Joel makes the study of cicadas his life’s work and eventually becomes a college professor. Daniel’s fate follows a totally different path but he ultimately becomes a professional photographer. The Covid epidemic and its impact on both men is also a prominent factor in their 2021 reunion which coincides with the next cicada cycle and both their fifty-first birthdays. It’s this last reunion that will determine whether they are ready to stop their cycle of seventeen-year meetups or get together permanently. Spoiler alert – they do and I only hope they can live long and happy lives together, at last. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. 




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


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 454 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 20-June-2024
Price $4.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Buy Link