By the Creek by Geoff Laughton (aka Andrew Grey) In this coming of age novel about two young men trying to cross boundaries and find their own sexuality and the meaning of the love, it is a wonderful journey that new author Geoff Laughton takes us on with these two young men.
David Harper is just starting the summer break between tenth and eleventh, it should be a joyous time, except his mother and he are moving. Over an hour away from his new friends, into the country miles from town and since he is new in town and away from town he will have no way to get a job to get a car so he can get to town. His mother is trying hard to tell him how this is such a better position she has gotten promoted to and how nice the community is, there is an Amish community just across the road from them and they have a very good bakery and are wonderful carpenters. David is not sold on the new move.
That summer he meets Benjamin, a boy about his own age from the Amish community. They develop a friendship as they meet by the swimming hole behind his house. Benjamin knows he is not supposed to be friends with the English boy, David, but he likes him and they talk about a wide verity of things. David encourages Benjamin to think for himself, to learn and make his own decisions on how his life should be.
As winter closes in they don't get to see each other because of the snow and the distance between their worlds, even though they are just across the street from each other. One day Benjamin knocks on the door asking for David's help, his father collapsed while they were getting fire wood. David helped get his father to the local hospital. Afterward Benjamin's father allows their friendship.
The next summer their friendship changes as they admit their deepening feelings for each other. This year David is a senior in high school and thinking about college. Benjamin should be thinking about his Ramspringa, the time in an Amish teens life when they go out into the English world for a year to see if they want to formally be baptized into the community or leave the community for good, except his father is already arranging a young woman for him to start courting, and talking to him about getting baptized into the community without going on a Ramspringa at all.
Can these two young men find their way through these difficult years? Can they find a way climb the walls of economic, religious, and social differences that are far wider separators than the two lane road that separates their physical homes? What will their families say and do if and when they come out to them?
Geoff Laughton is one of the main characters in Andrew Grey's Love Means (or Farm) series. This book was written under his name, for his son Jakey and his partner Eli. This is a great book, a five star read. Truly, Mr. Grey's style of combining emotion and mental growth, this book wasn't a roller coaster of emotions, but we got to see how these young men grew form boys into their individual manhood. Each had to take their own path, and for David that could hard in letting Benjamin take his own path because while it may wind its way back to meet with his, it took him away from him for while. I loved this book, as a young adult novel I find it very well written while keeping the romance very much alive.