That’s the dilemma Jonathan Cooper faces when he goes away to Spirit Lake Bible Camp, situated along Minnesota’s rugged North Shore, for a summer of fun. He is expecting Mosquito bites, bonfires with s’mores, and photography classes with Simon, his favorite counselor who always helps him see life in perfect focus.
What he isn’t expecting is Ian McGuire, a new camper who openly argues against phrases like Pray the Gay Away. Ian is certain of many things, including what could happen between them if only Jonathan could surrender to his feelings.
Jonathan, however, tosses in a storm of indecision between his belief in God and his inability to stay away from Ian. When a real storm hits and Ian is lost in it, Jonathan is forced to make a public decision that changes his life.
Winner, Emerging Writer Award, The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, 2014
Praise for Caught in the Crossfire:
“Juliann Rich has written a coming of age story that is at once bittersweet, fun, and sexy, capturing the complex layers of angst and joy that teens encounter when caught between wanting to be accepted and being true to who they are.”~ Alex Sanchez, author of RAINBOW BOYS and THE GOD BOX
“CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE speaks to those of us who know what it’s like to search for ourselves, then turn away when we’re not sure what we see.”~ Kirstin Cronn-Mills, author of BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN AND ORIGINAL FAKE
“This much-needed story doesn’t shy away from tough questions and tense scenes–but tackles them head-on with humor, sensuality and hope.”~ Rachel Gold, author of BEING EMILY, JUST GIRLS, and MY YEAR ZERO
“Hey, wait up! I’ll join you,” Ian called to me as I walked along the beach later that evening, occasionally stopping to pick up and examine a flat, thin stone. Looking for just the right one. “Whatcha doing?”
“Not much. Just skipping rocks.” Spirit Lake stretched in front of us. The sound of laughing voices carried over the campground.
“Cool. I’ve never done that before.”
“Really? It’s easy. Like this.” I leaned back, arm extended, and aimed low so the stone would skim the surface and skip across it. Except it didn’t. My first attempt flopped and sank.
“Like that, huh?” Ian mocked.
“Not exactly.” I picked up another stone, wafer thin and flat, and let it fly. One…two…three…yes, four full skips and then it too sank and disappeared, but man, it was beautiful while it flew! “More like that.” Pride crept into my voice.
“Okay, my turn.” Ian crouched and examined the rocks. He took his time. Finally he chose one, elliptical and rounded at the bottom.
“Mmm, I wouldn’t—”
He stopped me with one glance.
“Oh, okay. Whatever you want.” I grinned.
Ian wound his arm back like a baseball player and pitched the rock. The splash was even bigger than I’d hoped.
“Excellent form, McGuire. You might have broken a record…for the shot put!”
“Aren’t you just hilarious? Fine, you show me. How did you hold your arm?”
I picked up the thinnest, flattest rock I could find and reached back with my arm, waist high and parallel to the ground. Ian stepped behind me. He slid his body against mine and stretched his arm out, pressing it against my arm. The breath from his mouth, hot against my neck, stirred my hair. A shiver ran down my back when he whispered, “Like this, Jonathan?”
“Yeah, I like…um, I mean, yeah, like this. For skipping stones.” My heart pounded. I stepped away and looked at Ian. Read more…
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