Permanent Jet Lag – Book Review
Title: Permanent Jet Lag
Genre: Contemporary Gay Fiction
A.N. Casey is a Californian born and bred writer with very few interests beyond the literary. As a former copywriter and a current freelance writer and editor, Casey was asked what he likes to do outside of writing for work and responded only with: “write more”—much to the disappointment of his colleagues who had hoped he might be more interesting. His few attempts to leave his computer or notebooks behind have led to an interest in camping, traveling, and very bad attempts at cooking. He is currently studying to become a teacher where he hopes his fondness for the red pen will not make him too many enemies. Above all, Casey believes that storytelling has the power to shape lives, and that young people deserve to see themselves represented on the page in every shape and form until no one is left feeling alone in this wide and confusing world.
Nineteen-year-old Lucas Burke prefers being alone. He likes the silence, and he loves not having to care about anyone else’s problems: the less he’s forced to feel, the better. But after a year of college-induced isolation from everyone he used to know, the wedding of a former classmate sends Lucas back home, and that means reconciling with a group of friends that now might as well be strangers. His sister hardly knows him, his “genius” best friend is nothing more than an addict, and his ex-boyfriend is still in a coma. All the while, wedding preparations send Lucas head first into a relationship with the groom’s best man—a recently cancer-free ex-Olympian who can’t stop talking. Lucas knows that if he wants to survive the summer, he’ll have to learn to be a friend again, but it doesn’t come easy, and it might already be too late.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I don’t even know where to begin. Permanent Jet Lag had my heart swelling in happiness, crying in heartbreak, and relearning important lessons along with the characters. It was a similar emotional experience of an Adam Silvera novel, except a tad more happy! Once I started this book, it was hard to put down. If I didn’t have to sleep or work, I would have finished this in a day. And now I am itching to see what A. N. Casey has up his sleeve next.
The story follows a 19-year-old named, Lucas. He just finished his freshman year of university and is coming home for the summer. I connected heavily to Lucas, because similar to me, he ran off to university to hide from his problems. He pushed his friends and family away and claimed that his hometown was where nothing good could ever happen, that he’d need to thrive elsewhere–even if he wasn’t. The beginning narrative felt like I was reliving my past. Like me, Lucas was trying to find happiness in other people, instead of looking within himself.
While this very much so follows Lucas’ story, it follows the story of his hometown friends as well. We have a boy who is still in love with the bride, we have a boy who is engaged to the bride, and we have a cancer-free ex-Olympian in one group of friends. What A. N. Casey does is brilliant. He lets us get deep into each character’s story. We learn about the quirks and difficulties and both sides of each story. And you’re left choosing sides and reflecting alongside each character. Every character is fully developed and realistic in what life would actually be like. Even though Luke was the main character, just like in real life, our friends and family make up a part of who we are, and what they go through is just as important as what we go through. Often times, this can be neglected in books.
Not only does this story cover alcoholism and the battle of cancer–two separate characters–it involves a wedding and a funeral, but also follows the idea of love. What it means to love, how to love when someone doesn’t love you back, and how even if you try your hardest not to fall in love, it’ll inevitably happen. I hadn’t anticipated so many different storylines interlaced in one while reading the synopsis. It did catch me by surprise when one story line was focused on more than I originally thought it may be. But A.N. Casey knows exactly what he’s doing. With strong characters, dialogue, and storyline, he could continue to write about the lives of these characters and I’d never grow bored.
Lucas learns valuable life lessons about love–loving another person as well as loving himself–and how he doesn’t have to run. All life lessons that as a reader, you may or may not know already, and if you do, it’s an added reassurance to take care of yourself and take care of those around you. And if you haven’t heard them yet, take what Lucas is learning to heart and learn with him.
What I loved about this book as well, was the timeline of it all. It takes place during one summer and continuously counts down to the wedding the friends are all planning. The countdown for each chapter is another reminder of how fast your life can change in just a single summer.
While this is A. N. Casey’s debut novel, I anticipate he’ll have a prosperous career as a writer! I definitely recommend this book!