Title: The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson (Get Out: Book One)
Author: Sean Kennedy
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Pages/Word Count: 190 Pages
At a Glance: The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson is a stunning novel with rich and genuine characters who grapple with all the many issues facing gay teenagers today.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: There is no Plan B.
After being outed in an especially brutal way and briefly running away from home, Micah Johnson has sworn to get his life back on the straight and narrow. Well, not so much straight, but you know what he means.
Unfortunately the path to redemption is not an easy one. With fights at school and on the football field and an all-round snarky attitude as his number one defense mechanism, will Micah survive the school year and the training camps to achieve his dream of making the national draft and becoming a professional AFL player?
His mentor, Declan Tyler, believes in him, but Micah wishes he had the same confidence in himself. Only time will tell if the ongoing reformation of Micah Johnson will be successful.
Review: For those who have followed this author’s work, beginning with the Tigers And Devils series, you will be familiar with the fabulous characters Sean Kennedy created–namely, footy players Declan Tyler and Simon Murray. In the third installment of that body of work, we are introduced to the hotheaded, Micah Johnson. Micah is the first out and proud footy player who hopes to make the big-time after his graduation from high school. Mentored by Declan, little seems to get through the angry and tough wall Micah has built around himself. While he knows that there is still rampant homophobia among the sports crowd, Micah cannot seem to reign himself in and be the team player he needs to be to convince the big league scouts he has what it takes to make it with them. He is a risk—and no amount of cajoling or begging on Declan’s part seems to convince Micah he must change, or lose his shot at becoming a name in the professional leagues.
When Micah earns a position in a week-long camp that will give him the much needed exposure to the scouts, he runs afoul of one of the most aggravating bigots yet. But he also finds an ally—someone who may become more than just a friendly face, someone who could become the one Micah has been looking for, someone he could come to love.
When I discovered that Sean Kennedy intended to branch into YA with this first novel–which I hope becomes a long series–I was very excited. He is an author I have come to respect, and his ability to write genuine characters that are gently flawed, witty, intelligent and most endearing was solidified with each subsequent installment in his Tigers and Devils series. But how he was going to take a kid like Micah, who had such a huge chip on his shoulder, who carried his animosity for the world like a shield into every setting, who seemed likely to trample every good thing that ever happened to him, how Mr. Kennedy was going to make this brat into someone who would tug at my heartstrings was just beyond me. I will never again doubt this author’s uncanny ability to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Micah Johnson not only became real flesh and blood under this gifted author’s hands, he stole my heart, and then some.
Micah is a work in progress and as his story unfolds, we are privy to the hurt he carries, his dreams and aspirations and his regrets. We watch as he painfully grapples with the fact that life on the football field may never be easy—that he will have to rise above the slurs, the homophobia, the hatred, and dig deep to remain true to his team, even if they don’t always like him just because he is gay. It is with raw emotion and unflinching honesty that Kennedy introduces us to a world that is not always fair, where being gay can make you the enemy and where biting your tongue in order to make it through another day is sometimes necessary. And he does it all through the eyes of a teenage boy who has one dream—to make it to the big leagues with his pride intact. It is sometimes so painful to watch and is always an education for those of us who are privileged not to have to endure it, but it is also tempered by humor, new-found love and loyal friends.
I cannot recommend this novel more highly. The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson is a stunning novel with rich and genuine characters who grapple with all the many issues facing gay teenagers today. I cannot wait to see more of Micah.
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