Billy Ray’s Secret: A Gay, Coming-of-Age Novel

June 1, 2015

Billy Ray’s Secret is a novel by Bo Sebastian, but don’t let the title fool you. There is almost zero talk about secrets or gay in this novel and that makes it not so good. A whole lot of promises, but not that much delivered.

Billy Ray is growing up in a small Bible belt town Restaria. His father is a baptist and his mother an alcoholic. Billy Ray is gay, but he doesn’t want to be gay. Eventually he falls in love with his best friend Jimmy, who comes from an Italian family. There Billy finds all that he never got at home. Jimmy doesn’t know how Billy feels about him and probably doesn’t want to know either.

Then Billy’s father murders his wives lover and goes to jail. Billy Ray is taken in by Jimmy’s family and then a whole lot of things happen that don’t make life any easier.

I was so frustrated after reading this book. There are so many things left wide open and never answered. The whole story feels rushed and badly written in so many ways. Billy never tells Billy about his feelings, other than some “I love you” ┬áin the middle of the night. Billy has a sister who plays a role but is never really explored in any way.

I really like books about the USA and about being gay in the deep south, but this one is not for me. Read it if you want, but don’t get your hopes up.


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