ARC Review of Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Disclaimer: I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Deposing Nathan begins in conference room of a state’s attorney office. Nate had been involved in a fist-fight that led to his former best friend Cam stabbing him in the gut with a shard of ceramic.

Just how they got to that point is the question. While the book takes place over the course of just a few days, the back story takes up the course of nearly a year. The design of this book is unique; it goes back and forth between remembering that we are hearing Nate tell this story inside of the state’s attorney office and figuring out what exactly happened between him and Cam.

Nate and Cam met on the first day of Nate’s junior year (and Cam’s sophomore year) of high school. Cam is new to town, and Nate’s in an AP Bio class without any friends. Cam immediately befriends Nate, and the two begin a very complicated friendship.

We also learn a bit more about Nate’s home life. His mom died when he was around 7, and he is being raised by his dad who is gone frequently and his aunt (his mom’s sister) who seems to be a bit emotionally abusive. Cam’s home life is also complicated; his younger sister died when she was around 5, and his family is still dealing with that.

As time passes, Nate and Cam begin to change each other, but is all that change actually good?

Besides straight up amazing story-telling and excellence use of a non-linear plot device (think Sadie by Courtney Summers, with the podcast replaced for a conference room in the state’s attorney’s office), I love its nuanced discussion on sexuality especially with the Church.

Both Cam and Nate go to a Catholic school, but Nate is more of devout follower. As time goes on, Cam realizes that his sexuality isn’t as straight forward as he thought it was, and Nate begins to deal with with similar things. While there have been a few other novels (think Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens and Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits by Jaye Robin Brown) dealing with the issues of sexuality and Christian beliefs in YA, this is something that’s not commonly explored in YA, and this is the first time that I saw the internal conflict between someone who so desperately believed in his faith and what the Church teaches versus what he feels. It’s something I am glad to see in YA because it’s needed.

This was an absolutely wonderful book, full of complexities and hope.

Deposing Nathan comes out on May 7.

Preorder Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

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