Title: The Zero Knot
Author: K.Z. Snow
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Jesse Bonner, Dylan “Mig” Finch
POV: 3rd Person
Eighteen-year-old Jess Bonner is casting off pretense—and, with it, some friends from his past who aren’t particularly trustworthy. In just a few months he’ll be starting college, and it’s time for him to admit the truth: he’s gay, not bi, and only one of his childhood buddies holds any kind of real interest for him. When Dylan Finch, aka Mig, follows his lead and puts some distance between himself and the old crowd, he and Jess give in to a mutual attraction that’s been building for years.
But navigating a fledgling relationship isn’t easy for beginners, and forces they can’t seem to control keep tripping them up: sexual appetite, personal insecurities, fear of discovery, and more. They need clarity. They need courage. Just as they’re on the verge of finding both, a vindictive act of jealousy sends one of them to jail. All their hard-won victories are in danger of falling to dust. The only way to save what they have is to recognize it for what it is . . . and fight for its integrity.
”Life is a never-ending process of self-correction.” True. The key, however, is being able to determine what should be changed and to accept what shouldn’t, not because it can’t be corrected but because it isn’t wrong to begin with.
Eighteen—that monumental threshold between dependence and freedom, the invisible line between childhood and the realization that to discover who you are and what you want means altering your perspective, shedding the façade of ambiguity and embracing all the possibilities the future holds. Eighteen—that incredible journey when you begin seeing life, friends, and family through the unfiltered lens of adulthood rather than the murky lens of teenage angst and self-absorption, when trying to figure out who you are depends so much upon with whom you associate. It is the point in time when making mistakes means owning them, learning from them, allowing them to shift your course, and to realize that, regardless of how old you are, having someone to rely on, someone to confide in, doesn’t mean you’re clinging to childhood; it simply means you’re among the most fortunate of people.
Sometimes the journey from child to adult begins with a first kiss, a true first kiss that means everything, that gives new definition to the feelings that are sparked with the recognition that someone who’s been right there in front of you all along was someone you didn’t truly see until the moment you finally recognized yourself for who and what you are, until the moment you began to see life and the world through new eyes; that is the someone you can see yourself loving beyond tomorrow.
So much of growing up is about fear—fear of showing people who you truly are, fear of standing up for your beliefs, fear of going against the grain, and fear of giving in to your feelings because you fear rejection. American author and poet Jean Toomer once wrote, “Fear is a noose that binds until it strangles.” Growing up means learning to decipher the knots that keep you bound and prevent you from living your own life on your own terms rather than conforming to what everyone else expects of you. Life is about tying, untangling, and retying knots, letting go of regrets, and letting go of some people, while holding on to the ones who matter most. Falling in love is about facing the fear that love might not be enough to see you through but finding the courage to fall anyway, trusting that whatever happens, you won’t be facing it alone.
During the summer following their high school graduation, Jess Bonner and Dylan “Mig” Finch navigate that slippery ascent into adulthood and love. Doubts and mistakes, jealousy and a self-centered deception will simultaneously keep them apart and draw them even closer together; it will prove that their own zero knot, no matter how it’s twisted and manipulated, is still the circle that will hold them together.
K.Z. Snow tells this story skillfully, conveying the emotions and fears of both young men as they struggle to find a place in the world where they fit in and where they fit together. Love at eighteen rarely means forever, but that isn’t enough to diminish the beauty of the happiness Jess and Dylan find in their here and now. The glory and innocence of first love lies in the belief of that magical feeling, the feeling that the future is infinite with possibilities.
Reviewed By: Lisa