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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
37


on June 7, 2014
Just when I thought I liked the m/m romance and all the sex, here comes Chris O'Guinn and his little tales of teenage coming out angst. We've all known the character, we've probably avoided him as I did, not wanting to draw any attention away from him and to us instead. I never had Collin's strength and support, but that was 55 years ago and the world has changed a lot since then, or has it. Chris O'Guinn has a style of writing that is fresh with humor, catchy, and makes you relate to his challenges and everyday life. Unlike so many other gay genre books of today, O'Guinn writes about an average type guy who is not a Greek God walking the halls of school but a thin, normal type who is trying to duck under the Gay radar guns at high School. As in another of his books, FEARLESS, Chris does not write a lot of sex into his drama, actually very little if any. It is surprisingly highly acceptable because his stories get by on real life substance and you don't feel like you are reading something so far over the top as not to be believed. His hero, Collin, is a bit of a wiseacre and has a comeback for most barbs sent into his direction. A bit of a fashion snob from LA, relocated to Iowa, Collin must confront the bullies and everyone not wanting the apple cart disrupted. Lots of good humor and real friend moments in this the second of Chris's Gay Kindle books that I enjoyed so much. I got in touch with my past reading this book, and recommend it most highly. 5 Stars 06072014
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on February 17, 2014
~3.8 stars~
Most of my absolute favorite books are YA, and a lot of them are lgbt. I have read and discovered some pretty amazing authors and writing. So any YA book I read, I end up comparing and rating to the best YA I've read (Suicide Watch by Kelly York, Gives Light by Rose Cristo, Collide by J.R. Lenk).

There were niggles, but I really enjoyed this. This was a relatively shorter book compared to what I'm used to reading for YA, and the length did affect the story for me. I felt some things were rushed and skated over, particularly towards the end with the bullying. But overall, I thought the issues and consequences of bullying itself was still handled well enough for what was a light-hearted book. I also did feel things were just a bit too happy-go-lucky, with the successes of the play, the store, B's transformation. Generally, I like my YA stories to be more depressing, or at least emotionally heavier. But this also made it a nice change of pace. What worked for me so much was the MC, Collin, and Austin. I loved Collin's voice. He initially came off as snarky and moody as most teenagers are wont to be, but once he got over his anxieties over the move, he turned out to be a likeable character. A little self-centered, yes, not to mention flamboyant, but also funny and brave. I loved his relationship with Austin, the school outcast, and his family. I might have wished the story went deeper in some areas like the characterizations, but it still made me smile and feel hopeful, even tear up at times, crybaby I am. I think we could always use more stories like this.
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on June 6, 2013
A 5-star rating is well deserved as this coming of age story deals with more than coming out. It is about growing up, making the best out of a bad situation, taking a risk to talk to talk to individuals shunned by others, taking responsibility for one's self, daring to be different, making your difference an asset not a liability, standing up to bullies, making a difference, being a friend and the importance of honesty.

There is a lot to like here and earlier reviews capture the highlights well and I don't need to repeat them. Suffice it to say, I truly enjoyed this story even though I am not the target audience for this story. This would be a great story to have as required reading for high school freshman.

I recommend Exiled to Iowa... for those readers that enjoy romance and personal development rather than than erotica. There is affection and kissing, while sexual intimacy is left to the imagination. This is a feel good story that celebrates courage, human dignity, honesty and compassion. It could be said that this book, if it were a movie, would be rated G for general audiences. After reading this book, I too fell motivated to be more compassionate to others that are different than myself and those shunned by others.
One person found this helpful
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on January 18, 2014
This book ruined my weekend. I saw the title and figured it would be something cute that I could read a few pages of each time I took a break between chores. But no-oooo. It turned out to be super cute, delightfully charming and surprisingly sweet. As a result, my "breaks" turned into one Very Long Break and not a single chore was done. Including that huge report my boss expects on her desk at seven Monday morning. (If I lose my job, I'm suing.)

This is, thankfully, not another coming out story. It is, instead, a story about discovering life, finding love and dealing with the bullies, figuratively and literally. The narrator is the boy I wished I'd been when I was in high school. He's smart, clever, talented, passionate and brave. There are other adjectives, all of them positive, but they need to be discovered privately. To rework the all too often misquoted adage, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating," I'll say, The proof of THIS pudding is definitely in the Reading.

Were this a proper review, I'd begin now to outline specific moments of delight or dismay, but no one is paying for this. So I'll simply say that this book is by far in the top percentile for books about gay life among pre-adults. I was thoroughly charmed and entertained. And, yes, I even shed a tear here and there, both for happy and for sad.

Okay, to be fair, this book didn't really ruin my weekend; it actually made it wonderful. However, it ruined NEXT weekend, because come next Saturday I'll now have twice as many things to do. (Oh, yes...if I lose my job over the unfinished report thing, I'm still going to sue.)
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on October 16, 2010
"Exiled in Iowa" is the classic fish out of water story told with a new and refreshing twist. Colin is 15 going on 16. The thought of moving away from warm trendy California to the unknown has him worried. Add to that the fact he is fabulously gay, an expert on couture with an exceptionally quick wit, and our poor hero finds himself stifled and alone. Scared and angry at the new world he must navigate in The Heartland Colin finds support in his big brother, the only person who knows for sure that he is gay, and a small group of friends. They embrace him for the warm and funny person hiding underneath the protective shell he has built for himself based on issues from the past regarding his sexuality. Soon Colin finds his boring Iowa existence swept up in school, bullies, new friends, a job at a trendy "by Iowa standards" clothing shop, and even a potential love interest.
"Exiled" is a good book for young teens growing up openly gay who might feel a lot like Colin, or even those who wish they could be as brave. Issues of being true to yourself and those around you and the ways to deal with being bullied are handled well with enough humor and plot twists to not bog the story down to a point it becomes an "After School Special" heavy type event. Colin makes mistakes. He breaks some rules. He loses friends and finds new ones in the least likely of places. While the young man doesn't always "beat" the bullies who torment him he finds ways to cope, something that is hugely relevant in today's world where too many young people feel hopeless and alone.
Chris O'Guinn writes Colin as a wise beyond his years young man with a smart mouth and a sharp mind that keep you laughing at every turn. He makes you root for Colin when he is down and makes you feel the joy of his success. He shows that no matter where you live and who you are if you make the best of the situation good things will eventually come your way. While I wouldn't say "Exiled in Iowa" has a fairy-tale ending, it is a nice change of pace from a lot of the gloomy "why me!" storytelling I have encountered in a lot of other Young Adult gay fiction. There is nothing that gets Colin so down a good trip Couture shopping or hanging out with his friends won't cure. Nothing a good High School play can't solve! Nothing a young man who knows who he is and knows what he wants cannot do, even stranded in a field of corn.
5 people found this helpful
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on April 10, 2015
A great discovery. The snarly title is perfect for twitter and the cover art well represents the angst, the humor, and the horror of high school. I like how Chris O'Guinn used the pacing of the story development to reflect how Collin, our fashion snob from L.A. and story hero, feels his life is speeding from his control.

My rare full 5 stars was given because Chris O'Guinn wrote a great story about what it means to be a human who just happens to be gay. I thought leaving the anatomical correct details to a book left by Collin's mother for his self-education instead of filling page after endless pages with endless sexual positioning that 99% of authors of M/M stories abuse was a nice literary touch. It showed that Collins parents did truly support him by searching for and providing a source of accurate sex information they felt our hero is going to need while it also showed that like all parents they were not comfortable actually talking about those details.
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on September 10, 2013
I experienced two different types of characters comparing these two works by the same author. EXILED TO IOWA...had a more flamboyant protagonist with more confidence and jaded commentaries. In FEARLESS our protagonist is struggling not only with identity but lack of confidence in the high school arena. Admittedly, I read FEARLESS first than went back to the author's earlier work: EXILED TO IOWA. My preference is that FEARLESS is better developed and engages the reader more fully. Both books are witty and hysterical in some parts. However, EXILED TO IOWA does not pack the punch or impact as FEARLESS does. In fact, the first book is rather tame( don't mean to suggest serious issues don't occur i.e. bullying, parental rejection, intolerance)compared to FEARLESS.
Emotional involvement was greater in the author's second work.

I don't think you will regret reading this book. It is funny, witty, serious and an important addition to this genre. Courage is called for in being who you are and making a stand. Controversial issues do arise and how we face up to them.

The only thing that bugged me in both FEARLESS and EXILED TO IOWA..
was when we have boyfriends calling each other with the endearment "baby". I don't know. It just strikes me as infantile. I guess to each his own.

Yes, this is another good one to read by this author.
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on August 7, 2016
Delightful tale of Collin Murray as he navigates a new high school in Iowa after his family moves from Santa Monica, California. His brother Shawn advises him to tone down his natural flamboyance and he does try. Collin is saved by discovering a clothing store, The Grab Bag, using "fashion" + Buford, IA" to search the internet. And thus begins a wonderful adventure in which he starts a drama club and finds a boyfriend. Collin is witty and entertaining and a survivor of bullying. Buford and Iowa will never be the same.
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on May 2, 2013
If you've ever lived in or been to Iowa, then this title ought to catch your attention quickly, as it did me. I found that the view of Iowa was a bit stereotypical, and during the three years I lived there, I didn't really run into the sort of stock characters that O'Guinn littered his story with (that may be because I was in a college town, however small it may be, and so it tended to be more liberal). However, despite the fact that I found O'Guinn guilty of perpetuating these small-town-people stereotypes, I really enjoyed the story.

Collin was perhaps the most amusing main character that I've ever come across, because he seemed so oblivious to the fact that he was so transparent with people--especially his family. I would definitely describe his narrative as a coming-of-age story, which will attract some people and repel others. The angst that can often be found in these types of stories still exists with Exiled to Iowa, but it is dampered by the humor and wit of Collin's personality, so it's easy to appreciate the trials he faces as a gay kid in a foreign (and small) land.

If you like witty comedy and lovable characters , this book is definitely worth a shot.
2 people found this helpful
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on March 20, 2012
To be honest, I'm a ways out of the target age group for this novel. I only bought the book because I've read some of the author's columns on a LGBT-interest website and I wanted to show him some support. But I'm glad I read it. I liked the lead character quite a bit. For the most part he sounded like an authentic teenager, although there were a few times when I wish the author had restrained himself from making one more quip or wisecrack. The story is engaging, if a trifle on the obvious side (it was apparent from the moment he was introduced who the protagonist was going to end up with, for example). The prose is well-written and largely free of the annoying typos and grammar problems that so many e-books seem to have. I would recommend this book to anyone and especially to those in the target demographic as a light and uplifting read. I would enjoy reading the further adventures of Collin and company.
One person found this helpful
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