Boys Come First

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Aaron Foley
May 31, 2022

This hilarious, touching debut novel by Aaron Foley, author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass, follows three Black gay millennial men looking for love, friendship, and professional success in the Motor City. 

Suddenly jobless and single after a devastating layoff and a breakup with his cheating ex, advertising copywriter Dominick Gibson flees his life in Hell's Kitchen to try and get back on track in his hometown of Detroit. He’s got one objective — exit the shallow dating pool ASAP and get married by thirty-five — and the deadline’s approaching fast.

Meanwhile, Dom's best friend, Troy Clements, an idealistic teacher who never left Michigan, finds himself at odds with all the men in his life: a troubled boyfriend he's desperate to hold onto, a perpetually dissatisfied father, and his other friend, Remy Patton. Remy, a rags-to-riches real estate agent known as “Mr. Detroit,” has his own problems — namely choosing between making it work with a long-distance lover or settling for a local Mr. Right Now who’s not quite Mr. Right. And when a high-stakes real estate deal threatens to blow up his friendship with Troy, the three men have to figure out how to navigate the pitfalls of friendship and a city that seems to be changing overnight.

Full of unforgettable characters, Boys Come First is about the trials and tribulations of real friendship, but also about the highlights and hiccups —late nights at the wine bar, awkward Grindr hookups, workplace microaggressions, situationships, frenemies, family drama, and of course, the group chat — that define Black, gay, millennial life in today’s Detroit.

Aaron Foley is a journalist and author of nonfiction and fiction. He is the author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass and editor of The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook. His work has appeared in This American Life, PBS NewsHour, Jalopnik, The Atlantic, several anthologies and more. A Detroit native, he lives in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

Cover design by David Wilson.

ISBN: 9781953368256/Paperback/386 pages/May 31 2022. 

Media and other inquiries: please contact Anne Trubek at anne@beltmag.com 

Praise for Boys Come First

"A Sex and the City meets Waiting to Exhale about millennial gay Black men, Boys Come First is full of sharp-edged shade, raunchy sex, boozy good times with ride-or-die friends, hints of love and vulnerability and even a few five-hankie moments toward the end. That it's set in the rapidly gentrifying city of Detroit by someone who knows the city inside-out only adds to the richness. I rarely say this, but once I started it I could not put it down and finished it in two nights. Equal parts sassy and sweet and a completely satisfying, very up-to-the-minute read." —Tim Murphy, Christodora and Correspondents