Author: Francis Gideon
Publisher: MoreThanTree Press
Publication Date: 5. October 2016
Rating: 3/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters
Summary: When Justin’s best friend drags him to a track meeting, Justin thinks he’s just going for the distraction. Having been dumped by his girlfriend, and still in the closet as bisexual, running allows him to forget about his problems. Everything works out—until his mother donates his favourite pair of sneakers to the local charity.
As Justin tries to find his old sneakers, he stumbles on a pair of identical running shoes—and learns too late they are simultaneously cursed and enchanted by the virtues of anger. Now, stuck in a sudden vortex of rage and passion, Justin is forced to trust Vipin, the only person who seems to have answers to his many questions.
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a lovely short story with a bisexual main character. And yes, the B word is used! A lot! It’s awesome. Justin has joined the track team after being dumped by his girlfriend. He’s surprisingly good at it and decides to keep going and attempt the try-outs. When his mother than gives away his old lucky sneakers, he cases the charity truck to get them back. But instead of his lucky worn out shoes he finds an identical pair, except it fits better and feels much nicer. But if he wears them for too long anger threatens to take over. To break the curse he has to trust Vipin, a mysterious stranger.
Sadly as the novella is only 78 pages long it doesn’t really give us much time to get to know the characters. I do like Justin and he seems nice enough, we get to see some exploration of his past and present, but I would have loved more exploration of how the sneakers affect his emotional well being, especially during the try outs for the track team, which are not at all described, except that he did well. Vipin also sounds like a good guy and you can see why Justin likes him, but again the story just doesn’t give us as readers enough time to really connect with the characters.
I am however definitely looking forward to the second (maybe more?) books in “the Sole Experiment” series (there are some great, cheesy shoe puns! It’s very nice) and I hope we will get to know the characters more there. (and maybe find out about the other shoes?)
All in all it is a super interesting idea but it’s too short and ends to quickly, so I can’t say I felt really connected to the characters. I also really enjoyed the attempt to see the positive sides that anger can have, so that was definitely refreshing.