REVIEW: Neon Saturday Night, by Julia McBryant

Title: Neon Saturday Night

Series: Low Country Lovers Book Two

Author: Julia McBryant

Genre: Contemporary Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Publisher: Self

Pages: 104

Reviewer: Pat

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

Boyfriends Audie and Calhoun carry on their long-distance romance through college. But Audie’s traumatic history of abuse leaves him with the idea that he has little to offer a committed relationship. Calhoun says Audie only needs to learn to be loved.

But Audie feels stuck in an inescapable narrative: he hurts, and Calhoun saves him. Audie’s tired of always feeling like the drama queen, tired of always playing the traumatized boyfriend. He wants something real to give Calhoun — if only he can figure out what that is. And if only Calhoun will let him.  

The Low Country Lovers series is a spin-off of the Southern Seduction series and takes place in the same universe; Low Country Lovers can be read on its own.

The Review

Not a novel per se, but a collection of three semi-poetic vignettes, Neon Saturday Night is heavy on sex which is intermingled with the quasi problems of two rich North Carolina young men.

Both Audie and Calhoun have turned twenty and go to separate colleges. Consequently, their time together is limited. The short vignettes each capture a brief period of time when they are together.

Neon Saturday Night revolves around a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach’s tourist trap board walk with its collection of miniature golf courses, swank hotels, and glittery arcade. Here We Fucking Are details the weeks that Calhoun has the flu and Audie nurses him back to health. And finally, The Sharks Create the Ocean finds them joined by another gay couple at a beach house on the Outer Banks.

On the surface, each of the brief glimpses into Audie and Calhoun’s tumultuous relationship might seem frivolous and perhaps a little inane. But each of them contains a magic that turns the small sampling into a tiny gem. 

One major drawback in my enjoyment of the book was that McBryant writes her books using present tense. Therefore, if readers expect third person past tense in their fiction, the beginning of this book will be jarring. (For example, the first sentence of Neon Saturday Night is “When Calhoun discovers Audie has never been to Myrtle Beach, he insists on a weekend road trip” instead of the more traditional “When Calhoun discovered Audie had never been to Myrtle Beach, he insisted on a weekend road trip.”) Since I’m a reader and a writer, I needed to read and reread the first few pages to get acclimated to this departure from standard storytelling, which was disconcerting.

If this tense issue doesn’t bother them and they want more about the book’s central characters, readers will want to get a copy of Hurricane Dreams, the first Audie and Calhoun novel and book 4 in the Southern Seduction series, to add to their understanding of these two complex characters.

The Reviewer

Pat Henshaw:

  1. Is a she, not a he.
  2. Writes MM romances.
  3. Has interviewed Arlo Guthrie, Big Bird, Fred Rogers, Liberace, and Vincent Price.
  4. Has lived and worked on all three US coasts and in the middle of the country, too.
  5. Has been a reviewer, costumer, librarian, and teacher.
  6. Has ridden an elephant, touched the pyramids, and stood at the edge of a volcano.
  7. Believes love is essential to everyone’s happiness.
  8. She wants you to remember: Every day is a good day for romance!

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