After perusing the winners of the 2010 Rainbow Awards, I decided to pick up this story. There's a good reason why Summer Song won in the Best Gay Coming of Age / Young Adult category. This is one sweet tale.
Billy Bronner, all-American 17 year old kid in CA, has discovered that he's not the straight boy he and everyone else has thought he was. Not after he met Len Nachman that summer. That meeting starts a whirlwind romance that, if you ask me, well-establishes that you're reading about a slice of 1955. As other readers have mentioned here, it takes a few dozen pages to get into the first-person style that Louise Blaydon has crafted. But don't give up! Once you're on, say, chapter three or four, that style flows quite well and you'll be absorbed in the storyline as it swings from Billy's voice, to Leonard's voice, to Billy's best friend's voice, etc.
It still amazes me (am I being sexist?) that straight women have such a flair for writing M/M romances. The wonderful description of first-time love between Billy and Leonard was well-crafted and subtly erotic all at once. You can tell it was written from a woman's perspective since the roughness I would expect from them had a certain feminine softness to it. Do NOT let this detract you from this story! This story has all sorts of hot scenes and emotional content that makes it a wonderful addition to the genre. I especially enjoyed the fact that neither boy had the right word to use for their relationship, since all they had were ancient Roman texts to define themselves. And that was wholly inadequate to describe what they had discovered about themselves and each other.
So, kudos to Ms. Blaydon for making me all verclempt at that dance and at the end, and writing this wonderful little tale about the middle of the last century.