This is a pretty intense story.
To start with (and the author disclaims this in the beginning of the book) Bobby and Alejo are a different set of 18 year olds than the ones that we know broke up and drifted apart in [b:Fall Into the Sun|12143881|Fall Into the Sun (Alejo and Bobby, #1)|Val Kovalin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1314719918s/12143881.jpg|17114269] at age 18, only to reconnect in their middle age, the two boys in Reach for the Moon are ready to fight for their future, as hard and scary at it seems, specially when faced with many, many obstacles.
So many deterrents, so many people that show them too many ugly sides to this life that they want together, so many people that might turn their backs on them if they step out into the light as a couple, as lovers. They want to stay strong, they want to keep it together...Bobby and Alejo are so certain that what they have (even if they are young and still scared) is good, and real, and FOREVER.
So it is Christmas of 1984 and Bobby and Alejo are about to go on a trip to Socorro, New Mexico to help Alejo's aunt figure out where her son Martin has gone. Martin is gay and he's just taken off, no one knows where he is. It's been months now, and no word. His aunt Isobel is worried sick and fears that Martin's sudden departure has something to do with her husband and his stern macho views. Martin's dad is the Sheriff of Socorro and not too keen on having a joto
for a son...So Alejo and Bobby with the blessing of Alejo's parents go on a road trip together. They are excited at being able to spend time together before their last semester in high school begins. They are excited to be able to be themselves, just the two of them, even for a little bit. This might be a time to talk about their futures, Boby thinks. Bobby whose only family is the one brother who isn't a criminal and Alejo. Alejo who is his EVERYTHING. He loves Alejo so much, he'd do anything for him, change the world for him. ANYTHING.
Alejo loves Bobby too, so much, he wants to talk about the future. But he's scared, because he does have family that he loves to loose, he cares about his church, and he cares about being scorned by his peers. He's so torn, so fearful, and even though nothing is stronger in him than what he feels for Bobby, taking that step of saying "I will be with Bobby" also means giving up on things that he might have liked to have, like children or taking over his family's business...Such tough things to grapple with at age 18, and they struggle as young men would in their cirscumstances. They are boys who make impulsive decisions, who let lust take over their better judgement, who just want to fit in, who lose their temper...They are boys. But they are also veterans of being in love, of understanding to their core what is to have found that person, THE ONE PERSON, that belongs to you and whom you belong to.
The trip to Socorro involves a lot of revelations to Bobby and Alejo, about themselves, about how they are weak, how they are strong, and how to move on from all the trouble and ugliness can be thrown at them by people they put their trust times, many times unwarranted and most times undeserved.
I could ramble for hours here, because this is a BOOK
. This is a coming of age story, a poignant look at not just the Latino culture but at the Southwest and life in the desert. The mistery itself turns out to be a very dark part of the story. Bobby and Alejo immerse themselves in this mission and they run into a lot of trouble.
A lot of things happen to Bobby and Alejo. Many of them were hard to read, I was so angry for them, so frustrated AT THEM, so scared that they might not be able to get through the messes they got themselves into, but I appreciated the rawness of it.
The honesty in Bobby and Alejo's insecurities, the strength that they had facing the world together. Even if they were of unsure of each other, they faced any adversity as ONE. Always together, always in love, always THEM. With these two boys we get all the expressions of love, selfless love, angry love, romantic love, protective love, erotic sensual love...They are so young, but they know how to be a unit. They know that what they have is a once in a lifetime thing...They can't give each other up. They won't.
The secondary characters are fantastic, Val Kovalin does an amazing job of bluntly revealing the Latin culture for what it is. So many stupid prejudices and mysognistic attitudes. A machista culture that allows men to never have to grow up, because their role is just to be there in force, not to nurture, not to be faithful, not to support...Just to UPHOLD...Protect...Protect what? it makes one wonder if they never pay attention to the people in their lives...But she also let's us see strong love, the kind of love that makes a brother look past his own prejudices so that he can keep being the brother he should be...
The portrayal of gay men in this story was very raw and almost frightening. 1984 was a troubled time for gay men in the United States, the height of the AIDS epidemic which had taken people who were already forced to live in the shadows from being outcasts to being pariahs, there had to be anger and defiance and HATRED in any man that chose to live out of the closet, it came at a very high cost. Too high sometimes. Some of the men in this book were bitter, and lost and brokem, some didn't know how to see what Bobby and Alejo had other than with anger and not a little bit of bitterness.
Im gonna wrap it up here...Bobby and Alejo...A love story for the ages, what more can I say? Val Kovalin wrote their story beautifully, sensibly, with great care...She writes like life. With humor, joy, hurt and hope. All the things that make people PEOPLE...I love her style and I love these boys. I wonder if we will get another look at the Bobby and Alejo of today?...They are still going strong, I am sure of that, hopefully we'll get to see the Bobby and Alejo of 2013 soon.