Author: Seth King
Genre: M/M, gay,
Links: Amazon (also available on Kindle Unlimited)
Triggers: Violence, homophobia, conversion therapy, mentions of abuse, death, gun violence, hate crime, suicide mention
At 2:01 AM, the first gunshots ring out inside Liberty gay dance club in Jacksonville, Florida. At 2:03 AM, the exits are barricaded.
The next several hours find August Brees and Corey Ross, both eighteen and coming off the most transformative and romantic summer of their lives, fighting a minute-by-minute battle to escape an unfolding massacre and forge something everlasting out of two ephemeral lives.
During a time when the crime of living your truest life can get you shamed, condemned, or banished from public life altogether, Liberty is about the struggle to love and survive in a world that may not always love you back.
Graphic content – reader discretion advised
Rating: 5 stars
I’d seen quite a bit of hype about this book, and a lot of times, things don’t live up to their hype.
Liberty does. And then some.
Please note, this is not an easy book to read. It’s one of the hardest books I’ve read in a long time. But it’s also one of the most beautiful.
I don’t want to spoil anything about the book, because you really should read it, but here’s a brief synopsis. August Brees is 17 and lives in Jacksonville, FL with his father. He’s also gay. His father is a conservative, homophobic, bigot who sends him to conversion therapy. That’s where he meets Corey Ross, the love of his life.
The first part of the book takes us through their summer together. Both of them shunned by their parents for being gay, they steal moments when and where they can. We get to watch them fall in love. We watch August go from being ashamed of being gay, to realizing how he feels about Corey and being okay with it. They have one last weekend together before Corey moves to Georgia, now that he’s 18.
Labor Day weekend. Sunday. They decide to go to Liberty, a gay dance club in Jacksonville. They are dancing. They are having an amazing time. They are free. Until…
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.
And everything changes.
The second part of the book is the aftermath of the tragedy at Liberty and how August deals with it. Choices he makes. Things he does. His courage.
To see the change in August from the first part of the book to this…it’s amazing. It’s uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. How the country and other people react to the tragedy, to the victims, to the survivors, both made me angry and hopeful. The way Seth wrote this book, just sucked me in, as if I was there with August and Jacksonville and everyone. It was gritty, it was raw, it was full of feeling. You can tell he put his heart and soul, his blood, sweat, and tears into this book, and I’d like him to know it was worth it. It’s an amazing book.
I haven’t been this emotionally moved by a book in a long time and I experienced the full gamut of emotions while reading it. I had to get up periodically and take a step back because it almost got to be too much. Just needed to take a few deep breaths before diving back in to this amazing book. I know this is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. I think it will with you too.
Read this. Have some Kleenex handy. And Never Stop Dancing.