Book Title: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza? (The Pizza Chronicles #2)
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Genre/s: YA, Contemporary MM Romance
Trope/s: Teen angst
Themes: Coming out complications, U.S. citizenship
Heat Rating: 0 flames No sexual content. YA novel.
Some mild sexual talk, scenes of kissing and making out. No sexual scenes.
Length: 50 000 words/ 208 pages
This is Book #2 of The Pizza Chronicles series, but can be read standalone.
BOOK 1 – WHY CAN’T LIFE BE LIKE PIZZA
RV, now fifteen years old, tries to enjoy his summer between freshman and sophomore years in high school, as he navigates his sexual feelings, his summer job, and his immigrant parents’ efforts at gaining US citizenship.
RV, having successfully completed his freshman year at the demanding Boston Latin School, is hoping for a great summer. He’s now fifteen years old and is looking forward to sharing many languid summer days with his friend Bobby, who’s told him he has gay feelings, too. But life and family and duties for a son of immigrant parents makes it difficult to steal time away with Bobby. RV has to work at his father’s friend’s garage and help his father get ready for his upcoming citizenship test. Bobby, too, has pressures. His father also pushes him to work at a summer job so he spends whatever little extra time he has practicing skills necessary to make Latin’s varsity football team. On top of everything, RV’s best friend Carole goes away for the summer, jumping at an opportunity to spend it with her father in Paris. Luckily for RV, there is always Mr. Aniso, RV’s Latin teacher to talk to, whenever RV is lonely. He’s also there for RV when RV inadvertently spills one of Bobby’s secrets and Bobby is so angry at him RV is afraid he is ready to cut off the friendship.
Warning: gun violence, racial slurs, sexual assault (on page)
From Chapter 11
I nodded. If I hadn’t already started blushing, I knew I was blushing now. My last conversation with Mr. Aniso and how I blurted everything out was there in my mind front and center.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing’s the matter.”
“C’mon,” he said, poking me in the ribs. “I know you pretty well by now. What’s up?”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s written all over your face.” Bobby leaned in close to me. “All over your red face.”
“You know I blush easily.”
“Yeah, but now you’re so red you’re almost purple.”
Bobby poked me again and tickled me. “C’mon, RV. What’s up?”
“Ow!” I said, trying to get Bobby back. “That tickles.”
“It’s supposed to tickle,” Bobby said, not letting go of me. “I’m not stopping till you talk to me.”
“Okay, okay,” I said. “Stop. I was just thinking about Mr. Aniso.”
“What about Mr. Aniso?”
“Well, since everyone was away, you and Carole, I was feeling kind of out of it, so I invited him to Joe’s Pizza.”
“Yeah. And we had a nice conversation.”
“Oh, just about the stuff we usually talk about, life and things. He always makes me feel better.”
“Yeah.” I knew I had to say something. I just couldn’t keep that secret. “Bobby…” I started hesitantly, looking down, afraid to meet his gaze. “Bobby, I was feeling bad that day, and I told Mr. Aniso everything about us.”
“What do you mean everything?”
“Well, how I was missing you. And how we were dealing with a lot of things. And including that we might be gay.”
“You told him that?” Bobby’s voice was now sharp, not at all playful the way it had been just a few seconds before.
“Yeah,” I mumbled. “I don’t know why I said it. It just all came out.”
Bobby’s entire body grew stiff.
Feelings of guilt washed over me, as I remembered the details of the conversation. “I—yeah. I’m, I’m sorry I told him everything.”
“You mean about the gay stuff?”
“Yeah. I was feeling so low and I needed to talk to someone and—”
I finally glanced up at Bobby but looked down quickly again because his expression was so stern. “RV, you broke your promise.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I—”
“You know what will happen if anyone on the football team finds out about us,” Bobby said, not waiting for me to finish.
“Mr. Aniso wouldn’t say anything.”
“How can you be so sure?” Bobby frowned, and I could see he was getting upset. “Do you know how many fag jokes I heard these last couple of weeks? And I’m not talking about the players only. Some of the coaches are assholes too. Dealing with that is not fun.”
“But there are gay jocks who are out these days,” I said, trying to justify myself somehow. “Is it still so bad?”
“Yes, it’s still bad.” Bobby was staring at me. “Competition is tough. Plus I’m black. Some assholes will use any excuse.” He shook his head. “Shit. Who knows if I’d still be on the team if one of the assholes found out about us.”
“I’m sorry” was all I could say, growing more miserable by the moment.
“Yeah. Sorry is easy to say. But it’s harder to concentrate on the football when I have to worry about fag jokes and the reaction of racist assholes. How could you do that?” He looked as miserable as I felt.
I wanted to cry.
“RV, I thought I could trust you,” Bobby continued. “I guess I can’t.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry. I gotta go.” He jumped off the rock and started to walk away.
“Bobby, I know you can trust Mr. Aniso,” I said, calling out after him, trying one more time to reassure him.
“I’m glad you’re so confident about it,” Bobby answered, looking over his shoulder. “I wish I could be.”
Then he turned back around and without saying goodbye, he disappeared from view.
I sat there motionless for a long time, stunned, ashamed, and scared. What had started out as a celebration had turned into a nightmare. I didn’t want to think about anything or do anything. I just wanted to go somewhere to hide, and stay hidden forever.
About the Author
Andy V. Roamer grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in book publishing for many years, starting out in the children’s and YA books division and then wearing many other hats. This is his first novel about RV, the teenage son of immigrants from Lithuania in Eastern Europe, as RV tries to negotiate his demanding high school, his budding sexuality, and new relationships. He has written an adult novel, Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon, under the pen name Andy V. Ambrose. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel.
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