Review: The Italian Word for Kisses by Matthew J. Metzger

The Italian Word for Kisses by Matthew J. Metzger
Release Date: December 20, 2015
Publisher: Queerteen Press
Pages: 271
Source: Book provided by the author for review



It’s no secret Tav and Luca are going out. After the accident, it’s also no secret that new kid Jack Collins has a raging case of homophobia, and is not best pleased about having given the kiss of life to a gay guy. Either Luca quits swimming, or Jack is going to make him.

Tav favours the tried-and-true method of knocking Jack’s teeth down his neck, only he can’t really afford another school suspension. Luca favours just ignoring him, only ignoring a penknife being held to your throat at New Year’s Eve is downright stupid.

Thing is, Luca suspects Jack is a victim of something himself. And time is running out for Luca to get through to Jack, before Jack gets rid of him.


Review:  Author Matthew Metzger delivers a story about two teen boys who face plenty of challenges in order to be together.

In The Italian Word for Kisses, Luca and Tav are athletic young males involved in a relationship. Through a series of events, their commitment is tested, especially at the hands of a homophobic bully.

Having read several m/m stories, I found this one to be quite different. Whether it’s the cultural overtones and slang, the storyline is filled with unusual expressions like “eyup,” “oi,” “gob,” and “emo.” The characters are quite a bit younger than in the other stories I’ve read, so it was a bit more difficult to picture the events taking place among 17-year-old boys. As a result, the drama in the storyline is more focused on experiences of that age group. Interestingly enough, the story is more about lifestyle acceptance than not.

The title plays a significant role in the story. In case you don’t know Italian, the word for kisses is “baci.” There’s plenty of light-hearted bantering to go along with a powerful underlying lesson about acceptance.

Each chapter features an upcoming quote to build reader interest. As a contemporary romance, there is plenty of spice between the characters, but the focus is light on that aspect and heavy on the drama.