Rave Reviews for AN INFATUATION!

Saturday March 07, 2015

Check out all these rave reviews for AN INFATUATION!

5 stars
First off the cover is so perfect with the depiction of Harold and Mario. Joe has written a well rounded story with excellent character development. The main body of this story takes place during the High School years of Harold and Mario.
This story felt like it was real life, it left no doubt with me that the events in Harold’s life actually happened. Every emotion felt real, which really helped to draw me further into the story. In a way this is your typical jock and nerd story but it felt more than that and I think it is because of the real emotions that I spoke about.
The story is very easy to read and hold your attention page after page. The story is complete, it has an ending that is clear, so it leaves you feeling fulfilled.
My only critique, and this is for me personally, I’m not a fan of inner thoughts injected into dialog. Every time this happens it is like hitting a bump in the road, it makes me hesitate as I’m reading. This in no way would make me discount this book, in fact this is one of those book that I would enjoy reading again.
Scott Burkett

4.5 stars
When we first meet Harold, it is current day, we learn he has a partner of nearly twenty years named Stuart and they are blissfully happy. We are also taken through a brief overview of their very structured lives. Up at 7am, dinner at 6pm, bed at 11pm, the full month’s menu on the refrigerator, with everything, including their volunteer hours on Saturdays, totally structured and scheduled. I always thought I was anal retentive, but after reading about Stuart, I realize I’m totally disorganized!
Harold is sitting down to write a story about his infatuation. Stuart reminds him to start the story twenty years ago so that the readers understand, and we’re off.
Next scene, we’re twenty years in the past and being introduced to Mario. Mario comes into Chemistry class late, and the teacher assigns him to be Harold’s lab partner. Only later in the book do we find out she had an ulterior motive.
Mario and Harold couldn’t be more opposite. Mario is a football player, the class president, and one of the popular crowd; and Harold is a red haired, tuba playing, nerd, and just happens to be gay…although he isn’t out and assumes no one knows.
When Mario asks Harold to help him with some of his courses, the plot thickens. Harold quickly develops feelings for Mario, but are they returned? Over the course of the story, Mario appears to get more and more drawn to Harold, who by this time is tutoring him in all his classes, as well as writing his college entrance essays for him.
Things start to fall apart though when Harold is attacked by a couple of Mario’s football buddies and almost raped. The only reason he isn’t raped is that Mario and Harold’s friend Hannah interrupt the potential rapists just as anal insertion is about to occur. The two guys get a one week suspension and then are right back at school, although they are thrown off the football team. The school principal brushes it aside by telling Harold that guys like Harold and he need to keep their heads down and not draw attention to themselves.
Harold’s heart is broken when Mario suddenly decides he is in love with the head cheerleader, and that they are going to get married eventually and what he and Harold have is unnatural and only a phase according to his priest. This has been driven home by Mario’s father telling him his uncle was gay and committed suicide by gassing himself in a car in a locked garage years before and that it was for the best because he was better off dead. The father also told Mario if he was like that he should do the same thing. This man also regularly beats his kids, so he is obviously a font of wisdom.
From there we are taken on a journey through the years, stopping at key events like a high school reunion to catch up on the boys. Harold is ever increasingly happy, Mario is the opposite. I’m not going to say any more, because it would be too easy to give away too much of the story.
I really enjoyed this book. Though I would be remiss if I didn’t say shame on you Mr. Cosentino for making this grumpy old bear get teary eyed at the ending. Great job! I recommend this book to anyone reminiscing about that one that got away.

4 Stars
I enjoyed this novella, even though it seemed to put my head into a bit of a tailspin – Who doesn’t have “the one that got away”? What would we do if we had a chance to correct that? Would we risk all that is good in life? Is Harold truly satisfied? Can his previous infatuation with Mario become something real? Will he choose tried and true Stuart (who is so detailed that he has probably pencilled in his every move for the next 19 years)? All the questions! So many questions!
Can the today’s reality measure up to the memories and history of yesteryear? Is 19 years of true (although quite predictable) love strong enough to combat the yearnings of long ago? High School reunions are a chance to revisit youth, and in this case, for Harold to face down some demons, be it in the form of tormentors and bullies past, or an infatuation that once ruled his teen years.
A journey via words from past to present, this read is a walk in Harold’s shoes. Easy to empathize with, Harold was always painfully honest with his husband Stuey and with himself. This put me in the surprising position of rooting for all three men! I wanted Harold find his happiness, Mario to not be so screwed up, and, well, Stuey didn’t deserve to be kicked to the curb just for being faithful and boring, did he?.
Though Harold did find his happy ending, it was not tied up in a neat little bow, nor was it without a bittersweet moment or two. I easily recommend this story to anyone in search of a light(ish) read complete with misty eyes and some “aww” moments. Author Joe Cosentino brought just the right amount of humor, angst and honesty to make this short but sweet coming of age story a success. Four hearts for romance, sentimentality, love and for the grass sometimes being greener on your own side.

5 Stars
An Infatuation is a beautifully written, bittersweet, story of young love, first love and infatuation versus true love.
Harold was smitten with Mario from the first he met him. At first I felt Mario was just using Harold and I didn’t like him much but as the story goes on my feelings changed about Mario drastically. My heart went out to Harold, I loved Stuart and had mixed feelings about Mario.
For such a short story this was a can’t put down read. I laughed. I sighed and I cried.
If you are looking for a quick read to feel a couple hour this is what you are looking for. Be sure to bring some tissues.
Cathy Brockman

5 stars
An Infatuation is told from the point of view of Harold who tells his story almost like he is writing a book. The flashback tells of how Harold first meets Mario, the object of his teenage infatuation and one whom he'd always regarded as his first love and greatest regret. Mario is a jock without much regard for academics but he needed a tutor and saw Harold as his ticket to passing the grade and stay on the team. Fortunately for Mario, Harold is a fantastic tutor and his grades do improve. As for Harold, his heart gets bruised for he knows that Mario only has room for him as a tutor. Until the day Mario kisses him and everything changes.
The changes are not so good. Instead of getting the boy of his dreams to be the someone who would be his partner in the long haul, Mario opts for the straight path and gets involved with a girl. Their relationship begins to fall apart from that time on but there are moments when they do meet and they reconnect.
Years go by and the class reunion invitations are received and Harold, with his husband Stuart, attend the event. It is with apprehension that Howard waits for Mario to arrive and when he does, it was as if they never lost their connection. That is when things are revealed and another change in their relationship happens.
This was so beautifully written with words that just flowed seemingly effortless through each page. The characters written so clearly it was impossible not to know who they really were. Their thoughts, actions, behaviors, it was a very visual read I could not help but see this movie in my mind play out. The life Harold went through in high school were told in a very frank manner that I was left without doubt these were moments either witnessed by the author or experienced first hand. These scenes from Harold's high school days were at times funny and many times scary.
I really like Harold's character especially when he thought things out but said things differently. Stuart sounded a bit of a control freak and yet was not. He was just so organized, it was scary, too. And then there was Mario who never really had the chance to be who he really was so was a truly sad character. All these men were written so well they came out very real.
What made me truly love this story was the simplicity of the writing. Everything fell into place and I was not left wanting. There were times I laughed and then there were times I cried.
For a very simple story, this somehow came out unforgettable.
Multi-tasking Moms Reviews

4 stars, Janette
Mario and Harold’s story is one to which I think most readers can relate. Who doesn’t look back at life and wonder “what if?” What if I’d done this, gone here, done that…but in this case, it’s more like what if Mario and Harold had met at a different time, under different circumstances? Would things have turned out differently for them?
For Harold, Mario’s sort of like the one that got away; he thinks of him often and does wonder what if. I like how Cosentino introduces the story in a familiar, almost conspiratorial tone, as if Harold’s letting us in on a secret. One obviously shared by his husband Stuart, since he offers some quips and input as well. By setting the story in present day then flashing back, Cosentino also sets our expectations by showing us the outcome first. Regardless how steamy and intense things could be between Harold and Mario, we know Harold will end up with Stuart, so this story is more about the journey getting there. And what a journey that is.
In this short story, Cosentino manages to touch on several sensitive issues – domestic violence, homophobia, hate crimes, suicide, just to name a few. Some of these are pretty heavy topics, and the way the characters handle them isn’t always appropriate although they are realistic. Cosentino also blends in a very subtle political agenda, mentioning a few hot button, lgbt topics of the day. They’re very subtle nuances, so pay attention! You’ll see them in everything from school groups to casual political party references.
For me this is a story of empowerment and being true to yourself. Harold’s story encourages us to be strong and honest about what we want despite how tough that may be. Something Harold’s friend Hannah says really stuck with me – she explains to him that while high school is basically hell for nerds and outcasts like them, their time will come. It’s so true for all of us. We have moments to shine and times when we feel like we’ll barely survive. I’d like to believe that everyone’s best time will come if we’re just patient. For some that peak happens sooner than others, but we’re all worthy of happiness and success.

Rating: A
As a fan of m/m books who's read numerous stories in this genre, Mr. Cosentino has crafted one that pulls at every one of your strings. It's a heartwarming read full of sentimentality as it looks back on the past giving thoughts of "what if?". It's full of heartache too, as well as harsh realities. It's a story that pulls no punches as it puts you through the emotional wringer and I was completely under its spell from beginning to end.
Harold was a nerd in high school but had a big heart. He knew he was gay, and though his parents were supportive, school was torturous as bullying was prevalent with little done about it. The only bright spot was tutoring football jock Mario and their subtle mutual attraction bubbling beneath the surface. At every turn Harold was supportive, letting Mario be as real as he could be with an abusive father and the weight of religious condemnation weighing on him. Mario though always ended up hurting him as he had relegated himself to the closet, making choices that would leave him miserable. Harold went on to happiness but never forgot Mario and at their reunion he's given the chance to fulfill a fantasy he's always had with the one boy who was perfection to him. Will he take a chance and throw away a loving relationship for a few clandestine moments with a man who's on the edge or will he choose the comfort of predictability that he knows.
This is an intensely emotional read that is more about heartfelt feelings than the steamy side of romance. The affection and attraction between Mario and Harold is seen more through words and deeds with only a few kisses along the way. There are numerous unexpected twists, and characters who are larger than life, to keep me fully immersed in this tale. Harold was a character to admire while Mario inspired pity and it's these differences, in a world where Harold was reviled while Mario was cheered, that kept me fully invested in their outcomes in a harsh world. There's surprising humor but also moments of sadness. It's ultimately about a life not lived and a life lived fully and I highly recommend it!

Joe Cosentino proves there’s more than one way to a happy ending in An Infatuation, a story of first love and heartbreak delivered in a fresh and funny voice.
Harold High gets the chance of a teenage lifetime when he’s asked to tutor football hunk Mario Ginetti, but before you go about thinking this is yet another nerd/jock high school romance, let me assure you it’s not. Harold’s teaching methods and Mario’s endearing obtuseness add a layer of charm to this already humorous, if not unlikely relationship, and watching the equally unlikely friendship that grows between the two boys was poignant in its inevitable conclusion.
Told in flashbacks, Harold is now a happily married man, whose husband, Stuart, plays along in the telling of this tale, acting as sidekick to both Harold and the reader. The author’s method of delivering Stuart’s choicest lines was an original twist to the narrative, and I couldn’t help but love it because in only a few words, Cosentino brings Stuart to the fore of the plot in spite of his not appearing throughout much of the story, giving readers the opportunity to connect with him and sense not only the devotion he feels for his husband but the security of their marriage as well.
Where the author sets up the tragedy of An Infatuation is through Mario. Mario is the stereotype: he’s the loveable dumb jock with the overbearing father, who can’t be gay, who can’t possibly fall for a guy like Harold. He’s the boy who has to date the cheerleader and marry her and have the white picket fence and 2.2 kids in order to comply with the status quo. And it’s through Mario that we see the contrast between what his life becomes—a life of denial—and where Harold has ended up—living a fulfilled life with a wonderful man, even though he’s never forgotten his first love.
The anticipation builds toward Harold and Mario’s reunion, ten years after their high school graduation, and their meeting evolves in a will they/won’t they moment of truth. There is a sadness that plays out in the different paths their lives have taken, one that culminates in the unexpected and bittersweet ending this story’s blurb promises. Joe Cosentino delivers it at just the right moment and in the most touching of ways, proving sometimes there are no second chance at first love. And yes, there were tears, and yes, they were earned through skillful manipulation on the author’s part, making us care for these characters and investing in them and their story.
An Infatuation is a sweet and simple tale with a nontraditional happy ending, one that will break your heart and make you smile in spite of it. http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/2015/02/17/review-an-infatuation-by-joe-cosentino/

While this story is short it runs the gamut of emotions and spans two decades. Every time I thought I knew what this story was it would change and offer me another aspect. I laughed out loud and sighed, there were a few minutes where I wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen. I even got a little teary eyed. I loved it.
Harold is sarcastic, sweet, self deprecating with a tongue-in-cheek narrative that was entertaining and engaging.
This was a story of a deep and lasting love that began in high school and existed as a fantasy and ideal for twenty years. Harold and Mario fell in love as the typical “nerd and jock” star crossed pairing. Add in Mario’s religious homophobic parents and the social changes that hadn’t occurred twenty years ago and you have a romance that was never able to get past the awareness of attraction and love.
Both men made choices both as young adults and throughout their lives that formed their relationship into one that could neither flourish nor die. It was sad and beautiful and familiar. I think we’ve all had some version of that person who we wanted so badly and could never have.
In many ways this book also has the love story of Harold and Stuart. I loved Stuart and his acceptance and love. Stuart is incredibly patient with Harold and his infatuation with Mario. Their life sounds so structured and kind of boring. But isn’t that what making a life with someone mostly consists of? All the minutia that fill our days and slowly build a life. And if we are lucky we get to do so with someone who we share affection, respect and love with. They aren’t dramatic, there aren’t any great sweeps of emotion and destruction, no raging inferno and no despair. They are content and sweet and have made a good life together. They are kind and caring and they compliment one another as a couple.
A story that is much more complicated than its easy banter and sarcastic wit would at first lead you to believe. Full of love, choices, and the importance of friendship in all its many facets. In the end this is the story of two best friends.
The bullying in this book is no joke. Harold is harassed and there is a definite possible trigger in some of the bullying that crosses the line into assault.
Reviewed by Nina

My Fiction Nook
What if we'd given love a real shot way back then?
What if he'd have been brave enough to try?
What if he'd never gotten married?
What if *I'd* never gotten married?
This book doesn't actually come right out and ask those questions, but they're on the reader's mind from early on in the book.
The story was not at all the story that I'd expected when reading the blurb. What I expected was cheating and deceit, lots of sex and angst, but the story that I read was most definitely not *that*. Which was pretty great.
From the first few pages, I had a feeling that this book was going to be entirely different than your typical M/M read. And it was.
PASSION. FLAME. Cherished one. Infatuation. Words don’t measure up. How can I tell you how I feel about Mario? Mario. It’s as if the universe created one perfect person, and put him next to me with a "Keep Off" sign dangling from his neck.
My jaw literally hit the floor when the main character, Harold, was speaking to the reader about his infatuation with the other main character, Mario, but is interrupted by Stuart, his *husband* of 19 1/2 years, to remind Harold not to forget details about his relationship with *another* man. His first love, Mario.
But here's the thing. I know the story began in high school and aborted relationships that never came to fruition don't normally feel very deep in retrospect. But I never, not once throughout the book, felt that what Harold and Mario had way back then, or even later in the book, was an infatuation.
It was love. Plain and simple.
Well, simple is probably the wrong word, as homophobic family members and friends ultimately get in the way, but the feelings of love were right there on the page. Whether spoken or unspoken, in my mind they were real.
Mario: “Harold, you still love me?”
Harold: I squeezed his hands. “Like I love every fairy tale my mother ever read to me as a child.”
And that's a bit how I think of Harold and Mario's relationship. Something that would begin with, "Once upon a time..."
The story spans from the time when Harold, the smart, witty nerd first speaks to Mario, the attractive, arrogant football player at age 17, until 20 years later.
Over the course of the story, we see an almost immediate connection between Harold and Mario, then they lose touch (as Mario flees to the relative safety of his closet, repeatedly) and then reconnect several times throughout the years.
“Harold, it’s really good to see you. I’ll give you a call.” He ran away.
You don’t have my number. But I have yours. And it looks like it hasn’t changed.
But each time that they are actually together, you can feel the connection, again, whether the actual words are spoken or not.
It really is a great story, with lots of humor (from Harold's *constant* blurting and snarky inner monologue), genuine feelings and even a few tears from and for both of our would-be heroes.
There are some extremely unexpected plot twists, which do actually serve a purpose, so they do not come across as feeling gimmicky. Some of them I really enjoyed and some of which made me want to cry for what might have been.
Mario: “Harold, this reminds me of that poem you taught me about in high school by Robert what’s his name. Remember the red, red rose? Even though it goes away, after the snow and shit clear up, it comes back again in June… every ten years. Even though we can’t be together, Harold, you’ll always be my red, red rose.”
Harold: I told you he was the best.
And for those of you who avoid cheaters like cats avoid water, this is my official thumbs up that this book shouldn't affront those particular sensibilities.
The author also did an amazing job of avoiding the 'angsty read' trap.
I highly recommend this very heart-felt, low-steam read with both its bittersweet *and* HEA endings.
4 1/2 stars for this tale of "what if's" and "the one that got away."
Todd, 5 stars

Inked Rainbow Reads
5 stars
First off, I love how this story was told. A look back on how things unfolded is not a perspective many writers use, but it was most effective in this story.
Mario and Harold – high school buddies – study buddies – friends? While the author shows a realistic view of how these two interacted and their emotions behind their interactions, I believe that Cosentino did an amazing job allowing the reader to feel each of those reactions, interactions, emotions and see that relationship from an outside perspective.
Had we been given a different perspective, I think the story would have had a far less profound effect on me.
While I cried during this story, I also laughed and was incredibly frustrated.
I loved this story and am so happy that I was able to read this.