Garth’s father died a year and a half ago, and he and his mother have been just scraping by: Mom’s working two jobs, Garth hates the part-time one he’s got. He just came out to his mom, who feels that they need to keep the whole “gay thing” under wraps for three years until he turns 18. The summer is shaping up to be less than great, even if he does have his best friend, Lisa, trying to set him up with her openly gay friend Adam (though Garth’s just not quite brave enough to do anything about it). That is, until his father’s long-lost brother, Mike, shows up one day. He comes with a smile, an open mind, and a promise to help Garth … in all areas. Soon, he finds himself helping Mike raise money for “charities,” and finds that he’s increasingly tired with the lack of honesty in his life.
There was much to like about the underlying issues of honesty throughout the book — not just with the con game, but also with who Garth was. I did think that the plot was a bit of a stretch — con games, in Richmond, Virginia? Really? It occurred to me to wonder if this was set in the South because the author thought Southerners were more gullible, which is a bit stereotypical. The characters in the book also seemed a bit stereotypical to me: the struggling single mom, the understanding best friend, the open-minded guy, the lovable best friend. There wasn’t much growth or development in the characters, which was disappointing. That said, the ending felt organic, something that I could see happening, something that made sense and yet wasn’t too pat.
So, in the end, it wasn’t all that bad a book.
Rated: Mild, for a few mild swear words