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Publisher's Summary

Lose an eye. Win a boyfriend.   

Ethan. Taxidermist. Goth weirdo. Can’t wait to be done with high school. 

Ethan is a young artist-entrepreneur with a love for quirky taxidermy. Roadkill is so much better than people. By the end of high school, all he wants is to develop his business, yet all his parents want is for him to go to law school. That is more than enough of a problem for Ethan, so any kind of love life is out of the question. That is until Robert Hunter, the quarterback of the football team, comes crashing into him. Literally. 

Robert. Quarterback. In the closet. More than meets the eye. 

Robert is the popular kid, the quarterback on his way to med school. He’s gay, but not exactly coming out since he doesn’t like to stir the pot. One night, spurred on by too much booze, he ends up causing irreversible harm to Ethan, the school’s weirdo. 

The aftermath. 

Robert will do anything to avoid charges for what he’s done, but when Ethan makes an indecent demand in return for his silence, Robert might just be in way over his head. 

For Ethan, it’s a simple act of revenge on a bully, but when Robert turns out to be not-so-straight, their arrangement gets complicated all too fast.  

Possible spoilers

Themes: first love, fitting in, entrepreneurship, disability, high school, jock/goth, taxidermy, artist, coming out, becoming an adult, enemies to lovers, hurt/comfort 

Genre: new-adult M/M romance 

(Stand-alone novel, no cliff-hanger.) 

Warning: Contains steamy, passionate scenes, violent injury, themes of bullying, and a morally ambiguous proposition. 

(This book was formerly published as Diary of a Teenage Taxidermist.) 

©2014, 2020 K.A. Merikan (P)2020 K.A. Merikan

What listeners say about Not like Other Boys

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not quite what I expected

Having read/listened to some stories from this Author I'm not always sure what to expect and I'm not always happy with what I get but this one surprised me in a good way. It wasn't as dark as some have gotten and though there are some dubious moments I found it to be oddly sweet and I appreciated the fact that it didn't shy away from high schoolers having sex like so many do. I mean honestly it's happening. Overall I really enjoyed how the whole thing played out. Though I never really saw this as a bully romance because Robert wasn't a bully in my eyes. there is bullying happening but not so much between the MCs in my opinion. Kent is a new to me narrator and while it wasn't spectacular it was good.

3 people found this helpful

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A YA -ish enemies to lovers high-school romance!

This book is very different from from the authors' usual works that I have read.
This one had almost a YA vibe which I felt was refreshing and a welcome change.

I really like the Goth versus Quarterback opposites attract, enemies to lovers romance.

I love reading about unique characters especially one with disability and moreover where it is handled well by the author.

This one was definitely a winner for me!
Tyler Kent's audio delivery suited the mood of this story perfectly and he really brought the characters to life.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Quirky. Hilarious. Hot. Original. Unpredictable.

🎧Tyler Kent is the right voice actor to narrate Not Like Other Boys.🎧

🎧His perfect comedic timing, pacing , tone modulation and pitch brought to life Ethan (one of the most snarky, flawed, eccentric, loveable, infuriating characters I've encountered in a long time ) and Rob ( the complete opposite of Ethan. in every way. but the same where it matters). 🎧

🎧Highly recommended this , very entertaining , audiobook to anyone who enjoys unusual, out of the box , morally ambiguous situations and characters , LOTS of steamy , explicit intimate times and some angst/growing pains associated with growing up and becoming an independent adult. 🎧

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting New Adult Story

I usually prefer the main characters to be older, but I have loved everything I have read or listened to by this duo, so I decided to give it a try. It was unique and interesting. The new to me narrator did a great job.

1 person found this helpful

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loved the book

just what I was in the mood for something a little out of the box but still has a happy ending never disappointed

1 person found this helpful

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awesome

you so definitely need a part 2 an 3 in this story. I absolutely love the story line.

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Wow (Not in a good way)

I don’t usually mind “dark” stories. But the writing in this is terrible. Certain subjects aren’t acknowledged, and his voice is very annoying.

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Best M Romance I've exprienced

Wish there was a sequel,this was a treat. I'm glad that I bought this audio it was well worth the angst , butterflies and fire sex scenes.

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An eye for an eye... what about a TBI?

I first encountered this work under it's former title “Diary of a Teenage Taxidermist” back in 2014 when I borrowed it from a friend via Kindle loan. Stumbling upon it again, under it's new title, I was intrigued, yet again, by the blurb and arranged to borrow it via another kindle loan, from yet another friend. Only when it arrived did I make the connection that it was the same book, and I passed on “using up” yet another friend's one-and-done Kindle loanability. Imagine my surprise when I found an audio-version among the books available for review on LoveBytes.

I honestly didn't recall many of the plot details from my reading of this over six years ago, so in some ways, revisiting this work is a bit like reading it for the first time.

As an inveterate logophile I tend to stop and look up words that I'm not familiar with. Though I probably looked it up six years ago, the author's use of "celedon" to describe the clearness of a pretty boy's eyes, pulled me out of the story, yet again. Celedon has always been tied in my mind to the milky light green pottery. Probably NOT the most brilliant word choice.
But that was quickly made up for with the line "Robert's gonna help me out with something I missed at school.” I'd never heard of a blow-job described quite like that before.

One of the book's major themes, and one that I found intriguing (twice), is Ethan's "hobby" of taxidermy. It's is something that most people don't approve of, and yet, there's nothing intrinsically wrong, damaging, or dangerous about it. I wonder if public reaction might not be the prime reason for the change of title. There is an odd, somewhat off-putting, yet fascinating quality about taxidermy that this story picks up on. Several other reviewers that I respect seem to dismiss this tale out of hand after encountering this.

The first time I read this, as a gay man I was attracted to the metaphor about not blindly accepting societal norms, and there's also a parallel here with the morality surrounding the sex for silence bargain that Ethan drives with Robert while still in his hospital bed. One might ask “In this #MeToo era, is dub-con sex, or even fantasizing about sex under modest duress, ever permissible?”

The whole scene where Ethan exhibits his elk based "sculpture" resonates in the way Robert is fascinated like he might be by the sight of a traffic accident – something he's drawn to examining closer, while feeling somehow guilty for being interested at all. He's equally challenged and intrigued by the thought, the effort, and the level of detail that Ethan has put into his "artwork.”

Beyond the whole taxidermy and the dubious sexual consent issues, this is the story of two teen boys exploring gay sex, and of forming a relationship while in the closet.

At one point Ethan refers to himself as a black weasel and briefly considers Rob as a white weasel. But, to this outside viewer, a more representative "spirit animal" might have been the hedgehog. Both boys are more than a bit prickly trying to form a secret friendship while maintaining their outward identities.

The one act of dub-con sex has a, “revenge of the nerds”, “bully comeuppance”, fantasy quality that many a gay boy can identify with. But Ethan quickly listens to his conscience, and the story doesn't wallow in these aspects for long.

Ethan quickly relents and recants his sexual bargain with Robert. By chapter 4 the story evolves into two teen boys uninhibitedly (but covertly) exploring sex. Between the first times, and the repeat performances, this book had a higher graphic sex per page ratio than any of my reading -- outside "one handed" friction fiction. Also, given the characters' individual imperfections, and their prickliness, the sex scenes never get predictable, nor as mechanical & clinical, as so often happens.

Just when the story starts leveling out, Derek, a "religiously strict but gay" cheerleader invites Ethan to Prom. Rob (and the readers), have to reconsider Ethan's and Robs relationship in light of Rob's newly discovered jealousy.

At the end of Chapter 13, it occurred to the pragmatist in me that the authors may have missed a profitable bet. They'd wrapped up most of the initial conflict, and the story arc makes a radical change. Chapters 14 through 23 might well have been packaged as a sequel. There's clearly enough material, (and enough hot sex), in those chapters to warrant it being a separate book.

As to the audio presentation, I'm a tiny bit ambivalent about Tyler Kent's narration. His job with the overall pacing and the general narration is fine. His narration of some of the most intimate and descriptive sex scenes I've ever listened to works so well... it feels almost disloyal to criticize any of his weaker moments.

He does a superb job at characterizing the “jock-ish” Robert. But Ethan's, "socially inept kid' voice is a bit jarring, particularly in the early chapters. Ethan's voice probably should be jarring. But, at least, I wasn't continually reminded of that fact when reading the book. In my own mind, I heard a number of the boys' exchanges quite differently – in a more sardonic, but companionable tone, conspiratorial but friendly. Actually hearing them as voiced by Tyler Kent, they seemed to lose a bit of their charm.

Perhaps that was partly due to their volume. Tyler does a number of dialogue lines at full volume that are clearly labeled otherwise. e.g. (in a gruff whisper) Overall the narration is stellar, and the discord was barely noticeable toward the end, but I did wish that a few more of the adverbs were respected early on.

Also a minor nit needs picking... many of the teen girl voices seemed not only too similar but somewhat poorly acted. There's a angsty cadence to school-girl speak that Tyler hasn't quite mastered.

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Really Enjoyed this Book

I Give this Book a 4.5/5 Star Rating, But listing as 5.

HEA(?): Yes
Romance: 4-4.5/5
Heat: 4/5
Drama: 3.5-4/5, surprisingly I did wish there was a bit more drama, especially with Ethan memory issues. I wish (as the reader) we were able to see more of Ethan’s lapses, because it doesn’t seem as important in the book as it should be. True it’s doesn’t need to be like 50 first dates, but I wanted to see the moments rather than them being past-tensed.
Not as much bullying as I was expecting, but I did like how it fit the book.
Suspense: 3.5-4/5
Dark(?): No
Pacing: Mid
Relationship Type: MM
Formats Reads: Audiobook
No Spoilers.

Narrator Rating: 3.5-4/5, it did take a while for me to really get use to the way he voiced the characters, but in the end Tyler Kent was pretty good, and I would gladly listen to this book again.

Plain and simple this was a pretty good book and I will definitely be listening to this over and over again!


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  • sarah mitcham
  • 05-15-21

Misunderstood.

I Absolutely love this story, it is quite dark in places and very deep and powerful. I went through so many emotions while listening to the story. This story is MM Young Adult but dealing with very adult issues. Tyler Kent did a brilliant job narrating this emotive story.

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  • Deedee
  • 01-12-21

Loved it

A super sweet and quirky story. Ethan and rob are great characters, even though Ethan can be a bit much sometimes. There is a lot of creative taxidermy but it is described beautifully, you can really picture the imaginative art.
The characters are a lot younger than I’m used to from a K.A. Merikan book but I really enjoyed it.

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  • Sadie G
  • 12-23-20

Perfect narration

I need to start out with the narration. I do not think there could be a more perfect narrator for this book than Tyler Kent. He was perfection! Best casting choice ever. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the taxidermy parts but it wasn’t bad. There weren’t any graphic details. I loved how Ethan referred to people as mice and himself as a weasel. Robert and Ethan were so cute together and super hot. Yeah, this is a must listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-20

YA- With Some Hotness

I wasn't sure what to expect with this story since I'm used to KA Merikan's dark and gritty works. I enjoyed this but it's so different than what I'm used to from them. Ethan's character drove me nuts at times because he was so selfish. In the end he became more understanding.... as long as things went his way! It was a great coming of age story w/ quirky elements.

I enjoyed this narration but I wish that Ethan's voice was deeper- it through me off a little since it was higher than I expected.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 12-10-20

The Jock and the Taxidermist

I’m the first to admit I approach K.A. Merikan books with some trepidation. There have been some I’ve loved, and a couple that were misses. This book was not a miss. Formerly published as Diary of a Teenage Taxidermist, it has now been brough to audio. Tyler Kent is a new narrator to me but his voice worked. The teenagers in this story haven’t yet reached maturity, so it made sense their voices were young and not as deep and resonant as the narrators the Merikans normally use. In other words, these kids are definitely not hardened criminals or members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

That being said, they’re no innocents either. The synopsis is longer than the average one I’ve seen but that’s necessary – the plot needs to be laid out in some detail so the squeamish and those traumatized by bullies don’t accidentally pick it up without knowing what they were getting into. I read the synopsis carefully – several times, in fact. I was intrigued enough to pick up the book and am glad I did.

I don’t read a lot of books with teenage protagonists. I barely survived my teenage years and do not look back upon them with nostalgia and fondness. They were years I struggled through, and although they made me a stronger person, I believe one should make it to adulthood without having to endure the gauntlet of bullying and peer pressure.

Robert is a jock. He has friends who sometimes egg him on. And he does stupid stuff. And sometimes that stupid stuff has devastating consequences. And some readers might think ‘there but for the grace of god’ as they reflect on stupid stuff they did as teens. But Robert owns up to what he’s done and is willing to make amends – partly out of a desire to stay out of jail – but mostly out of intense guilt at having caused such horrible damage. Ethan hasn’t had an easy go of it. He’s a misfit who appears goth but doesn’t fit that stereotype. He prefers to stay at home and practice taxidermy. And, okay, I was a little squeamish at that. I love my dog, but I don’t want her stuffed and put on a shelf when she dies. That being said, Ethan’s taxidermy projects are phenomenally creative and I was fascinated.

Anyway, Ethan goes to a party and things go horribly wrong. He loses an eye, but gains a means of revenge – he makes sexual demands of Robert who feels he has no choice but to comply. This is where the Merikans are at their strongest – moral ambiguity. Ethan is blackmailing Robert – pure and simple. And yet there is nothing simple about this relationship. Things progress and the boys develop real feelings for each other. But so much stands in their way – well meaning parents, friends who apply peer pressure, and a society as a whole. Ethan has always felt he had to fight the world and suddenly Robert is an ally, believing in him. Those transformations were powerful.

But high school ends. Ethan pushes to pursue his true passion while Robert continues to hide his from the world – and it’s a great one, by the way. So I was left wondering if they could make it as a couple or if they were destined to have to head in their own separate directions.

I’m glad I listened to this book. Yes, it brough back memories of being bullied in high school, but it also reminded me that I survived that time in my life and was a better person for it. So give the book a shot. Between the narration and the story, you won’t be disappointed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Trio
  • 12-09-20

Unique, Creative, and Excellent!

I don't usually worry about spoilers when I write a review, but saying anything about K.A. Merikan's Not Like Other Boys without giving too much away is near impossible!

You're going to have to trust me on this one, it's fantastic.

There's some angst, of course, it is a Merikan, but the humor throughout is simply amazing. The situations Ethan and Rob get into are wonderfully creative, and the authors' originality blows my mind. Absolutely 100% enjoyable.

The audio is performed by Tyler Kent, who does a wonderful job with these characters. Mr. Kent is a new narrator for me, and I'm impressed with his ability to read the story. There's quite a bit of narration and he uses distinct voices for each character. Furthermore, each voice really fits each of these guys. Emotional and funny, Not Like Other Boys makes one fantastic audiobook.

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  • OldLadyStauffer
  • 12-09-20

Unique and absolutely captivating

I love how the minds behind K.A. Merikan work. They utterly fascinates me. I leap at the chance to read their work. They don’t shy away from weird, interesting, outrageous, and dark things. They embrace it, and I love it. I don’t read a lot of books with teenaged mcs, but these boys are both 18, so there’s that. For this author, though—I will read whatever trope, age group, or genre.

Robert and Ethan were brought together under very unique circumstances. Both events, one caused by Rob, the other by Ethan’s odd demand as payment for his silence, have lasting repercussions throughout the book. Despite this, these boys find themselves continually drawn to the other. It was not a smooth transition from bully/bullied to friends, and then, boyfriends. Despite Rob no longer participating and often preventing it, Ethan still gets bullied.

This was a brilliantly written story, with incredibly well developed characters. I loved that there’s always humor mixed in with the dark, the serious, and the sadness. There were moments that were funny for the readers, that were just not addressed in the story (by the characters). I love that stuff, and soak it up like a sponge. The characters are funny, without even meaning to be.

Tyler Kent is a new to me narrator, but I hope to hear more from him. He was perfect for these characters and their story. He did a phenomenal job with Ethan and Rob. His ability to project emotion, awkwardness, and have two very well thought out, and distinct, voices for our leads, is incredible. I can see him going far in this industry, and I’m glad Merikan utilized his talents for this story. I cannot imagine it with any other voice. Tyler Kent IS this story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mari Cardenas
  • 12-09-20

Nice YA story!

I absolutely loved Rob. Yeah, he was a bit of a bully at first, but he really came around and became a dreamy boyfriend for Ethan. I liked Ethan, but he could be very immature and I just wanted to shake some sense into him. While they were hot together, there was a bit too much sex in the book for me, so I ended up ffwding through some of it. Sorry, not sorry.

The whole taxidermy thing was intriguing, if a bit icky, especially when combined with food, but okay. And I really would've loved some kind of epilogue some months/years into the future.

Overall, I found the audiobook entertaining and I really enjoyed Tyler Kent's narration. He did a good job with both characters and with the story.

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  • Susie Umphers
  • 12-08-20

Some very intriguing characters

I say this often about Merikan's books, when I start them I'm not sure I like either of the main characters, and that is true at the beginning here. I know, however, that as the story goes along I will come to understand the characters and sympathize with everything they have had to go through both during the story and in their backstories. Learning to see through eyes that initially seem radically different than my own and then finding commonalities (sometimes uncomfortable ones) is what I love about this author's work. Tyler Kent is a new performer for me but this one was right on the money. All the pain and emotions were spot on and not overdone.

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  • Vania
  • 12-08-20

I adored this book!

I had been fascinated by the title and the storyline when it came out as "Diary of a Teenager Taxodermist", but never got the chance to actually read it. Now that it's out in audio with the new title, I took a chance and I am so glad I did!
I adored both Ethan and Robert. The fact that they are both very young (18, the story takes place in their last year of high school) explains, and sort of, excuses most of the behaviours I would find extremely annoying in full-grown characters, like Ethan's sometimes selfish attitude and Rob's lack of communication when needed.
Ethan is a fighter: he's lost an eye, and he was already sort of an outcast at school even before that, plus he doesn't really get along with his parents; but he's got a passion and a vision of the future that light a fire inside him that make him go on and no one can stop him.
Robert feels extremely guilty for his mistake that let to Ethan's eye loss, but as he and Ethan start to get together after his accident, it's not only guilt that keeps him going back for more. He certainly is more than meets the eye, more than a jock, future pre-med student.
I would not classify this as a pure YA book, as there is sex (and it's steamy, too!). It's the passage to adolthood that is portrayed here, in a very unconventional, maybe a bit weird, but delightful way