The Moonballers

A Novel about The Invasion of a LGBTQ2+ Tennis League … by Straight People (GAY GASP!)

Fiction - LGBTQ
288 Pages
Reviewed on 07/11/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Moonballers: A Novel about The Invasion of a LGBTQ2+ Tennis League … by Straight People (GAY GASP!) is a work of fiction in the humor, parody, and sports fiction subgenres. It is intended for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Jeffrey Sotto. In this rip-roaring humorous work about the sport of tennis and the social norms surrounding LGBTQ2+ society, we find ourselves in 2020 at the birth of a brand new queer tennis organization near Toronto, Canada. Our protagonist Steffi Porsche fancies himself the champion player and natural leader of this new group, until a straight man, Khalid Adam, arrives equipped with all the wherewithal to take over. What follows is a campy and competitive look at intolerance from both sides of the rainbow lens.

Author Jeffrey Sotto demonstrates many different skills that really make this unusual and original novel work. For a start, he’s clearly an avid tennis fan, and his devotion to the sport adds a layer of excitement and enthusiasm to the writing that is positively infectious. Beyond this, he knows precisely where to pitch the parody element of queer fiction so that it becomes truly humorous without ever damaging the core ethos of queer culture. There is quite a lot of surprisingly explicit content in the book which certainly amps up the intrigue and makes for some shocking plot twists, but I found it was all dealt with in good humor and quite suitable for the target audience. Overall, LGBTQ2+ readers certainly won’t want to miss The Moonballers if they’re looking for laughs and hijinks, but also something that leaves you thinking more deeply about prejudice at its end.

Alma Boucher

The Moonballers: A Novel about The Invasion of an LFBTQ2+ Tennis League … by Straight People (Gay Gasp!) by Jeffrey Sotto describes the lives of gay friends. Stefan is the president of the club and Butterball, better known as Bibi, is the Vice-President. Ernest and Scooter are respectively Membership and Event Coordinators. Khalid joins the club, but he is a straight man. He is welcomed by most members, but Stefan freaks out. He wants an exclusively gay tennis club and is not prepared for this. He was seven years old when he played against Peggy Bock, who was six years old, and lost. He threw his racquet up in a tree and it never came back. Ernest fell in love with Khalid, but his mother complicated the situation. Stefan, Bibi, Ernest, Scooter, and Khalid become good friends and when they receive life-changing news, they realize what matters in life.

The Moonballers by Jeffrey Sotto is complex. I was intrigued by how the situation with a straight man among gays would develop and was surprised by the outcome. It is action-packed with never a dull moment. I could not put it down as I had to know what was going to happen next. The characters were well developed with an interesting background. They were complicated, but I could relate to them. I learned that a gay community is more like family to each other. The story is about love, friendship, and the meaning of family. The ending was surprising and emotional. I enjoyed the reference guide with definitions of the game of tennis at the back of the book.