First love is never easy. But when the new boy in a small town is being secretly abused by his father, first love might be the only thing that can save him.
With his mother busy in the kitchen and his drunken father reading scripture in the living room, Nathan can watch his schoolmate Roy from his upstairs bedroom window and dream about a life free from his father's nighttime prowling. Nathan feels safer with Roy in the house next door, and safer still with Roy beside him. Studying algebra shoulder to shoulder on Nathan's bed, one thing leads to another. But where will love lead Nathan?
In a corner of the rural South blistering with hatred and petty meanness, Nathan and Roy must hide their love from their friends, church, and families. But that comes easily to Nathan, who is used to keeping secrets. He is only afraid of the one secret he has always kept, even from Roy the terrible truth about his father that makes his life impossible.
Fleeing the house one night with only a blanket to shelter him, Nathan escapes with Roy on a camping trip to the haunted ruins of a plantation. As the boys track a path through the otherworldly wilderness, a sense of unnerving peace begins to surface in Nathan, along with the awful certainty that he will never return home.
Dream Boy confirms the immense promise of Jim Grimsley's award winning debut, Winter Birds. In this electrifying new novel, adolescent gay love, violence, and the spirituality of old time religion are combined through the alchemy of Grimsley's vision into a powerfully suspenseful story of escape and redemption.