In this poignant coming-of-age novel, a gay teen struggles to find his identity in the contrasting worlds of rural Mississippi and the big city of New Orleans.
Growing up in a small Mississippi town in the early 1990s, shy and inexperienced Mason spends much of his time with his best friend and secret childhood crush, the charming and daring Billy. When a six-pack of beer leads to a passionate encounter between the two teenagers, Mason believes his dreams may have finally come true. Billy's apparent disregard for the incident, however, leaves Mason feeling confused and betrayed.
When Billy slips off to glamorous New York City immediately after high school graduation, Mason fears he's doomed to spend another humid Mississippi summer scooping ice cream. But Mason's life changes dramatically when vivacious Aunt Savannah invites him to live with her in New Orleans and work in the box office of her drag queen cabaret. It's there in the decadent and liberating French Quarter that Mason begins to fall for Joey, a strikingly handsome and sweet nineteen-year-old, who may just be ready to open his heart to someone new.
A surprise visit from Billy hints that he may be ready to return Mason's feelings, and Mason faces a difficult choice. With the help of his spirited aunt and a sassy drag queen, Miss Althea, Mason learns that sometimes it's best to roll life's dice and take a chance.
From Kirkus Discoveries Reviews
Debut novelist Perronne presents a believeable and engaging cast of characters in this quiet tale of self-realization.
From Books to Watch Out For, Edition 15
"sweet and imaginative...A Time Before Me laces its sentimentality with enough jagged reality to give it an interesting edge."
"Michael Holloway Perronne's stunning work, a must own for fans of gay fiction."
From Steve Kluger, author of "Almost Like Being In Love
"For anyone who remembers what it was like to fall in love for the first time--both the heartbreak and the joy. A sheer pleasure to read."