Donick Walsh and the Reset-Button
by Nathaniel Shea
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Pub Date 15 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 14 Aug 2023
Shea Taylor, Scribbles Press
Donick Walsh: king of the school bullies, secret dancer, closet-case. What's to be done when a football injury means he can never play again? Dance in the school musical, of course! Not like he has a choice. Fingers crossed his father doesn't find out!
Enter Michael Penrose: theatre-kid, and Donick's former best friend. For years Michael has been the object of Donick's ridicule simply because Michael is out and proud, and Donick is afraid.
Suddenly confronted with his old friend, Donick sinks under the weight of the guilt of his past. How can a bully make amends for all the hurt he's caused? How can a closeted ex-high school football player make peace with the very real crush he suddenly has on a boy? And what in the world can be done to hit the reset-button on an entire life? Donick Walsh and the Reset-Button examines the confusing nature of what it means to forgive, the discovery of living one's authentic self, and yes, even the joys and pains of first love.
“It made me laugh on an airplane. It made me cry on an airplane. It made me ask "why isn't everyone else reading this?" the second I got off the airplane. Donick Walsh and the Reset Button is an unflinching celebration of forgiveness, self-growth, and the painfully relatable mistakes we make along the way. Clear a space on your shelf, because this is one you're going to want to read again and again!” -Elle Kleos, author of “Like & Subscribe for Murder”
"A beautifully tender look at the challenge of bettering ourselves. Nathaniel Shea's writing had me fully invested in Nick's transformation." -Amy Shira Teitel, author of “Fighting For Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Space Flight”
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 44 members
An interesting story full of twists, turns, fun characters and overall a book I would consider reading time and time again.
What a great book! I'm not usually a YA reader, but I enjoyed this one from start to finish. The characters were so much more complex and nuanced than most YA authors typically dare to be. I love that the whole story centers around forgiveness and growth - even when forgiveness isn't granted or growth isn't easily achieved.
Donick is such a great character. He wants to be better but has to overcome so much internalized hatred and, frankly, his own well-earned past reputation. I love that his past behavior was actually bad, not in a sanitized way, but in a way that actually is hard to forgive even if it's understandable. His journey toward healing and moving on into the life he's chosen for himself was so well paced throughout the book that it felt believable and earned rather than coming across like a Disney channel movie.
Our love interest Michael, by contrast, is sort of regressing through the book. As Nick becomes a better version of himself, Michael is consumed by his bitterness toward his old friend. This was an awesome way to show how refusing to confront the past can be toxic without giving some saccharine message about forgiveness being the right choice in all scenarios. It was more that not confronting his past with Nick was actually bad for Michael. The progression of their relationship was so interesting, and it never unfolded exactly how I expected!
The side characters in the story were all delightful and contribute to the overall theme. Plus, the entire theater setting was so delightful. If you love broadway, anime, or really anything "nerdy", this book will read like one big hug. It was great to read something from an author who clearly enjoys and understands the subject they're writing about!
All in all, super highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a complex, queer coming of age story!
This was a unique concept and I enjoyed how well it was written. Nathaniel Shea does a great job in writing this and creating a bunch of realistic characters. I enjoyed every part of the story and getting to know Donick Walsh and Michael. It was a interesting concept and I enjoyed how good the characters were. It does a great job in telling the what ifs.
"My face gets hot. “No,” I say, taking a step back. “I promise. I—I wouldn’t—I mean, I was looking at the pictures was all.” I want to stare suddenly at the secret admirer notes. !at crooked red heart seems to want my eyes desperately. “Your twins—I—I didn’t know about them.”“Yeah well, you wouldn’t, would you?” His nostrils flair. He won’t look at me. When he speaks again, his tone is flat. “Phone call over?” I don’t trust my voice, so I nod. “All right, then get out,” he finishes and crosses to the dresser."
I was so attracted to this beautiful, lively cover, and the concept behind the book is so interesting. I am grateful to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this vibrant and unique book.
This book was so good! I was sucked in from the moment I started it and finished it in less than 24 hours because I just couldn’t put it down. I really felt seen in some of the struggles faced by the main character when it comes to self acceptance. The story and the journey felt very powerful to me. The ending did leave me with quite a few questions about what will happen next. I definitely would love to see more of these characters and find out what life has in store for them.
What do you get if you cross My Name Is Earl, High School Musical and Simon Verses? Donik Walsh And The Reset Button. A story of reinvention that felt cathartic and earned, and left me rooting for Nick at every turn. His fight for acceptance and the strong themes of authenticity and nature vs nurture inevitably left me reflecting on myself and the things that make me happy. (Fortunately one of those things is Queer YA fiction)
The characters in the book are very believable, almost to a fault. They read like real teenagers, making all the mistakes you’d expect and struggling to share their feelings like any teenage boy I’ve ever met. Michael is probably the most realistic anime fan I’ve read (and I’m not just saying that because he suggested History Maker for the revue). Nathaniel Shea clearly knows what he’s talking about when it comes to pop culture, music and dance!
It always takes me a moment to adjust when I start a book written in the present tense. (Just not my preference) This book however, took a little extra adjustment. Donik’s chapters are written in the present tense whereas Michael’s are written in the past tense. An unusual but intriguing choice that almost makes it feel like Nick is catching up to his new friends, making new discoveries about himself and this new world, and we’re along for the ride. It works somehow.
I absolutely loved this book. I can’t wait for everyone I know to read it so I can talk to them about it. I cancelled plans so I could keep reading it - I’m not even kidding.
“Everybody tries to be different, and do we ever succeed, I wonder?”
I started reading this book expecting some Rom-com story,I assume i ended up surprised by the serious tones the narrative would take ate some moments and the very careful way homophobia was described in here. Its a story about friendship,hope,and about to be loyal to ourselves. I really enjoyed it !
Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this one. It ended up being a five start book in my opinion. The story focuses on a young man Donick who was a football star and that should have been his entire future but it was a future he did not want. He was good at football but he didn't have a love or passion for it. Donick recently suffered a severe injury that put his football career to rest. Donick has always been a huge bully at school. Along with his jerky football and stoner friends, he makes fun of people and has a complete lack of compassion for anyone. Most of this was to fit in with others but also because his dad has always had a bully-like relationship with him. Also, he likes boys. And it would be awful (He thinks) if anyone knew. His dad would definitely hate him. But after his surgery, Donick starts re-evaluating who he is both in his sexual identity and the kind of person he is. Now he is determined to make up for the bad things he did to his fellow students. Including his former best friend who he's shunned for years. He took dance classes to help with his football and now finds himself in the school show. Right along with his old friend. Will Donick be able to make amends and become the man he wants to be? No spoilers but this story was written extremely well. At first I was afraid there was no way Donick could make up for the stuff he did....really rotten stuff. And by the end of the book my only slight disappointment was that there wasn't enough time in the book to see Donick happy and shining. Great story here.
Link to review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5338230372
Honestly a really phenomenal book! I enjoyed the overall message of the story and I also feel like it wasn't overly saturated with the message. The writing style definitely kept me pulled in, turning pages, and not wanting to put the book down. I feel like, although YA, the book didn't have the typical cliche and corniness of most other YA LGBT+ romance books. Honestly, the entire book really gave off the vibe of being like a Y2k movie with aspects that reminded me of the movie Clueless - which was referenced in the book, A Cinderella Story, High School Musical, and many more of my favorite 2000s movies.
[May contain spoilers below]
This stemmed from one of the main characters injuring himself - Donick "Donny, Nicky" Walsh - and deciding to use that injury as a way to reinvent himself into the better person he wishes he was. Bear with me because this part's a little cliche. No longer having to do the sport he hated and being able to pursue his love for dance, he begins to try to find and apologize to the people he bullied when he was an uber-popular jock. This becomes a task that he is trying to achieve throughout the book which is not easy because some of the things that he has done seem kinda unforgivable. However, Donny knows this as well and says many times that those he is apologizing to do not need to give him forgiveness, and it's more about owning up to his actions and trying to be a better person. All the while dancing and singing in the school revue - a kind of showcase - and trying to become friends with his ex-best friend that he bullied - read: get him to fall in love with him. As I said seems cliche but the book is well-paced enough that it doesn't reach the point of being so platitudinous.
Now for the other main character and love interest - Michael "Mikey" Penrose. Mikey is Donny's ex-best friend whom Donny is trying to become a better person for essentially. However, while Donny becomes a better person, Mikey becomes more and more bitter by this - to the point that everyone calls him out for it - while simultaneously falling for his secret admirer who has been leaving him notes. The actual romance between the two main characters is fleshed out so well and it takes a decent amount of time for anything to happen which is believable for this situation.
Overall, definitely a new favorite of mine that will most definitely be on my shelf in print as soon as it can be and read time and time again for the foreseeable future. Great for a read you won't put down that has you smiling all the way through.
This book was addictive to read. It was nothing to read ten chapters in one sitting. Reading what would happen next and trying to figure out how it will come together in the end. It was fantastic.
The characters were lovable, the friendships were wholesome and had a found family vibe that worked perfectly for them.
I loved seeing Nick change for the better. All the bad things he did, he realized his mistakes and while nothing can change the past he tried his best to be better to apologize to those he could, not to feel better about himself but so they knew he was sorry, that it was wrong and something they didn’t deserve.
Michael’s parents were so amazing. So nice, funny, and kind. I’ve never read about a high school party happening while the parents were there and it be perfectly normal. I absolutely loved it.
I loved the pacing of the story, the hurt/comfort that brought the plot into full color. It was just a great book with a lovely message.
The way things worked, the way Nick found his self confidence and was able to be authentic to himself, the friendships made, were done so well. The ending was beautiful and I’m so happy to have read this.
High School Musical? Check
Donick Walsh and the Reset Button will take you on a rollercoaster ride of feelings, from self-doubt to heartbreak to happiness and back again.
Donick's path will not be easy, and the stories behind his past are often deplorable, but he'll find support he hadn't anticipated and a future he couldn't have dreamed of.
My biggest struggle with the book was having a stopping place to sleep! From page one, you're captured in Donick's story and need to know how the story ends. Don't be like me and start the book after dinner, or you're gonna be reaching for the caffeine the next day.
Definitely, of the books I have been able to read thanks to NetGalley this is my favorite.
I really like atonement stories and I think the author knew how to handle that theme very well. Donick takes responsibility for his past actions, not just "feeling bad" but seeking to make amends to those he hurt.
The evolution of her relationship with Michael was also the right one, although I would have liked a kiss at the end and not just the promise of a tomorrow for them.
What I didn't like was the way Michael's friends invalidated his emotions about Donick.
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