Tales From Foster High Book Ten
With high school long behind them, Kyle Stilleno and Brad Graymark are sharing a life, together, content, but happy?
Kyle seems to have given up that spark that made him who he was and Brad is worried it may never come back. When an email from a gay teen asks Kyle for help, he has to choose between his comfortable life of sleeping his life away, or waking up and doing something about it.
Dream of a Waking Man, book ten in John Goode’s Foster High series, picks up after Brad completes his military service and returns home to surprise Kyle. We knew from the last installment that Kyle left his internship at the law firm to be with Brad, and it was just delightful how we got to relive that moment this time from Brad’s perspective. Now Brad and Kyle have a home of heir own, Kyle has left the law firm and is on his own, working from home, and Brad is back in school studying to be an athletics coach. All is pretty hunky-dory, and a bit too safe, until Kyle gets an email from a fourteen-year old boy who has been denied the right to start a Gay/Straight Alliance in his high school in, you guessed it, a small town in Texas. At first Kyle is set on not responding, using the lame fact that the boy needs a more experienced trial lawyer, but Brad is smart and lets his boy stew while deliberately not applying any pressure and, of course, Kyle folds and takes the case.
This novel is definitely Brad’s coming out story, not as gay,no; those who follow the series (and you SHOULD be following this series) know that happened many books ago. What I mean is this book really focuses on showing how much Brad has grown. He’s a man now and he is solidly in love with Kyle, which allows him to step up in ways we’ve never really seen from him before. These two are all grown up, and while their humor still has plenty of snark, and Brad can still be the most naïve boy on the block, there’s now a definite edge to their interactions that had never been there before. Brad is still unsure of his own keen insightfulness, but he wields it with a greater ease. I loved watching this boy become a man in this novel, loved seeing the hidden depth in Brad that has always been there but never fully realized till now. To use his own sports analogies, he stepped up to the plate and brought it home in this novel, and did it with such perfect “Brad-ness”.
Kyle, who had grown more inward since graduating, even more doubtful as to his own abilities, had also become quietly safe in his work. He had most assuredly lost some of that spark that made him the fierce person that took on the Foster High School board and won some years ago. It takes Brad carefully reading Kyle’s inner fears to draw the man out of his stupor and get him back to fighting form, and when that happens, it is glorious to read. Above all else it is the strength of their relationship that shines in this story. They are no longer tentative about being absolutely sure of each other, they are strong together and nigh on impossible to stop when they stand united.
Dream of a Waking Man takes us one step further in the lives of two boys who have somehow grown into the finest of men right before our eyes. Once again, John Goode does not spare us from the hate and bigotry that exists in this world, but he tempers it with love, friendship and a passion to do the right thing despite how flawed those attempting to right injustice may be. I love this series and I highly recommend this latest book to you.