Graduating senior, theater lighting wunderkind, and closeted gay, Nick Fortunati volunteers with The Streetwise Players in the dark corners of The Laughton, a creepy old movie palace decorated in Grand Guignol style. But his father wishes Nick would use his intellect and his scholarship to become a biotech engineer and earn a prosperous living for his future family. Nick loves his dad and wants to please him, but he dreams of a career in theater. And he wants a male lover. Unfortunately, his homophobic father won’t approve of either.
When Nick’s at his loneliest, out of the corners of the theater and into his life comes trouble-laden Steve Stripling, a man with little memory of his past other than his name. Meanwhile, Nick’s introduced to the dashing Wash Vitek and is torn between the two men. His situation is further complicated because he doesn't know if Wash is gay.
Nick resolves to solve the mystery surrounding Steve and help the young man recover his memories, even though by doing so, he risks losing the first love he’s ever found.
- 1 To Be Read list
One day teenagers will not have to worry about what their parents’ reaction to who the love will be. Yes, I have a dream. Until then, stories such as Special Effect, by Russell J Sanders, will remain imperative in our culture. Special Effect is not a tale of coming out; it is a tale of self-acceptance, standing up for yourself, and putting others first. All this wrapped up in a little mystery and drama.
Nick is a nerdy theater geek just trying to make it to graduation and then through 4 years in a major that does not interest him in the least. Why go for that major? Because his otherwise “perfect” dad wants him to, of course. What does he want to do? Theater. Theater lighting to be exact. One day while working along at an old theater, Steve shows up and sweeps Nick off his feet, literally. They become almost inseparable… as long as they are alone. As it turns out, Steve has a few secrets of his own that Nick wants to help unravel.
As Nick works to free Steve from his secrets, he discovers more about who he is, what he wants and how to get it along the way. Those methods are not always 100% honest, but the end justifies the means, right? Well, maybe not. He has to decide who is more important, himself or those he loves. He has to decide just how much of the truth should be revealed. He has to decide how much his father’s approval means to him. He has to grow up and become his own person. He has to sacrifice and love and live.