In a departure from the usual coming out story that often crops up in LGBT literature, The Jetsetters sees author David-Matthew Barnes weave a story of true love between a normal man and a soon-to-be-famous musician.
The story follows former Southern boy Justin, a barista in Chicago, who falls for attractive Latino guitar player Diego, who is about to hit the big time. The story is told entirely from Justin’s point-of-view, pulling the reader into his passionate and almost obsessive love affair. However, there’s not really much beyond this premise and it never really goes anywhere. Except downhill.
As a love story, The Jetsetters is not terrible, with one or two moments of genuine tenderness we greatly enjoyed. However. as a protagonist Justin seems to have attended the Bella Swan school of stalker love – falling for Diego on his second date, deciding to cash in his life and ambition for him, and follow him on the road. Don’t get us wrong – we’re here for hot and heavy love stories that defy convention, but we were having hard time finding any sense of genuine love here. It was all far too saccharine and sweet, though peppered with occasional moments of passion, to feel like their connection was anything more than infatuation gone wild.
The larger cast of characters are also fairly weak and underdeveloped, which is rather unfortunate when our protagonists are constantly interacting with them. Their motives and ideas are rarely examined beyond their surface, which left us feeling like our central couple were surrounded by mannequins. Case in point is a deeply sympathetic character called Delores, whose whole Modus Operandi seemed to be cry, cook, grieve and die. Her narrative seemed rushed, and we didn’t miss her when she was gone.
There are two absolutely fatal flaws with this book: namely, its brevity and its frustratingly poor climax. The book is short and spends much of that time leading up to things that never deliver; it’s a wonder it delivered an ending at all. This conclusion also felt far too easy and simplistic.
The Jetsetters is one of those books that had the potential to be brilliant. However, rather than develop anything real and truly evocative, it came across as self-involved and insincere. We couldn’t help but feel that so much more could have been made of this narrative, but all we had was this half-finished product, leaving us feeling cheated of the hours we lost reading it.
The Jetsetters is available from Amazon.