Midnight Chat, Harmony Ink Press, February 7, 2017
Boy Meets Boy Reviews gives Midnight Chat 4 hearts and says, “It’s not perfect in execution, but it is definitely a story that is powerful in it’s delivery. It is hard to read, there will be a lot of tears, but it is important on many different levels.”
For the past two years, since meeting in ninth grade, Mira MacDonald and Rob Stevens have been inseparable best friends. Rob’s struggles with depression, and his reliance on Mira, sometimes make the friendship difficult for Mira, but she wants to support Rob. Especially since he’s the victim of severe bullying at school due to his sexuality. Even though Rob isn’t out, he is gay, and the suspicion is enough for some people to torment him.
Now Mira has her first girlfriend, Talia Acevedo, and Rob’s jealousy is becoming even more of a problem. Rob insists that Talia doesn’t like him and is trying to break up their friendship. Mira tries to stay neutral, but it isn’t easy when Rob’s obsession with her escalates—along with his anger as the harassment gets worse.
One night, during one of their typical midnight text sessions, Rob tells Mira he’s decided to take drastic action at school to stop the bullying once and for all. And if she tries to stop him or tells anyone else, she’ll be first on his target list.
What’s anyone going to do to stop them?
A restraining order? Dad had said restraining orders didn’t necessarily do any good, but the idea might reassure Rob. Though even if Craig and Seth had orders against them and actually obeyed, their friends could still get to Rob.
Apparently he realized the same thing. Won’t stop their buddies anyway. Doesn’t matter. Something has to change.
Maybe this will show them they can’t keep hurting you.
You’re naïve as hell, aren’t you? They’re never going to stop until someone stops them.
I wasn’t naïve. I just wanted things to be different. But Rob was right about this too. The bullying had been going on for years. None of the guys had ever had serious consequences until now, so possibly Craig’s and Seth’s arrests would smack sense into some of the others. But even that might not be enough of a reason for all of them to stop.
I tried to say something encouraging, but my brain went blank. Of all the times for me to stop thinking. Maybe your parents will send you to a different school. Then you wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore.
It’s going to be the same no matter what school I’m at. And my father and his wife won’t change. I should die. Then no one would hurt me anymore.
My heart stopped. I didn’t believe Rob would hurt anyone else, but he definitely might do something to himself. For all I knew, he was sitting in his room with a bottle of pills beside him. I had to convince him to stick around. Of course he was upset tonight. Probably that was why he was talking about suicide again. If he got some sleep, he would feel better. My job was to make sure he went to sleep instead of doing anything stupid.
Coming up with a reason for him to stick around wasn’t much easier than encouraging him to think positively about the bullying coming to an end. I would miss you.
You would get over it. I wouldn’t be an albatross anymore.
When his next response showed up, I could practically see him rolling his eyes. The old saying. An albatross around your neck. Means a burden. You read a lot. You should have known that.
I don’t know everything. And you aren’t a burden to me.
Why do you keep saying that? All I do is lean on you.
I wasn’t helping him. Not even a little. I wanted to call him, because maybe hearing my voice would do more for him than reading my texts, but Dad would hear me. And Lee-Anne or Rob’s father might hear him.
This time, at least, I had a response. Friends lean on each other. I leaned on you when everyone called me names.
You made them stop without my help. They’re not going to stop with me.
We’ll figure something out. Stick around, okay? I need my best friend.
You’re crazier than I am.