Book Review by Pixie: Into the Blue, by Pene Henson

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Into the Blue by Pene Henson

Into the Blue, by Pene Henson
Publisher: Interlude Press
Release Date: July 7, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Tai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids surfing the North Shore of Oahu. Now they live with their best friends and Ollie’s kid brother in a pulled-together family, all of them piled into a run-down beach house. They share cooking, bills, and the saltwater running in their veins.

Tai’s spent years shutting down any feelings for Ollie. They’re friends. Their family depends on them. But with Ollie off on his first world tour and his dreams of a pro surfing career finally within reach, their steady world shifts. Is the relationship worth risking their friendship, their family, their dreams, for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?


M/M Pairing
Gay Character
Demisexual Character*
Sports Romance (Surfing)
Friends to Lovers
Interracial Romance

(* not confirmed on-page)

This book has actually been out since 2016 and, for whatever reason, I am late to hearing about it. I’m actually glad I waited for all the hype to subside because I think, having held off on reading it, I went in with no expectations.

This book is a perfect book for the end of summer. I don’t know about anyone else, but I start summer ramped, up having been a virtual shut-in for close to half a year. I was ready to read all the angst-and-conflict and ‘books that cause emotional trauma and keep me up at night’. Then by about August I’m exhausted and cried out, and just need something joyful– which can be hard to find in M/M.

This book was wonderful in that it was a simple story about friendship evolving into something more. I found it believable in the sense that the two main characters have a lifelong friendship and, through necessity– Ollie is raising his younger brother and Tai provides support not only with that but also in pursuit of his surfing dreams– have formed their own self-made family, which includes two friends who also live with them.

This book is also excellent in that it has strong gay, demisexual (implied), asexual and bisexual representation. The only reason I am taking away a star is because it did take me awhile to get into the story. Not sure why, because I loved everything about it, but it did end up being a slow read for me.


Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her gorgeous wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Into the Blue is her first novel.

You can purchase Into the Blue from:
Barnes & Noble

Or add it to Goodreads

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I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2 thoughts on “Book Review by Pixie: Into the Blue, by Pene Henson

    • I would recommend it for when you need something to pull you out of a funk. You know how sometimes too many back to back angsty dark reads can get to a person. Let me know what you think when you read it.


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