How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.
Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?
Knight of Ocean Avenue is such a sweet story. After seeing a lot of the hype for this book, I was afraid to read it and not like it, but that was not the case. I absolutely loved it and the characters involved (Oh Shaz, you are awesome!)! Billy has been unlucky at love. His sole reason for existence (in his mind) is to care for everyone. Everyone but himself. He is helping with his sister’s wedding when he meets the flamboyant Shaz, an openly gay man who is not afraid to be who he is. Shaz sees Billy and instantly wants him. But, Billy isn’t even sure if he is gay and he would never date anyone as “out there” as Shaz.
Like I mentioned, this is such a sweet story of Billy discovering his true self and sexuality. Even though he is afraid of what being with Shaz would do to his reputation, the heart wants what he heart wants (among other parts) and the two men connect in a way neither of them even dreamed of. The each bring something to the relationship and see in each other what others do not. It really is a sweet, tender, story of love. I’m so glad that I read it, loved, it, and will be adding this one to my read it again rotation.