I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
You can also find me on my main blog.
Lisa Henry wrote a fluffy, laugh-out-loud romance, y'all.
On the surface, this book is hilarious fun. I loved, loved, LOVED the characters, the dialogue between Nick and Jai, Nick's lack of brain-to-mouth filter, with such gems as
“But, okay, I’m seriously wearing my favorite red shirt and I would really, really like to suck your dick.”
and the banter between Nick and Devon (his straight BFF). I was giggle-snorting many times before I had even hit the 4th chapter, and not only because of Nick's blurtiness.
Adulting is hard, y'all. Especially when you've hit that magical age of 18, you're heading to college, and the world expects you to be an adult almost overnight. And what better way to spend your last summer of relative freedom by hooking up with the hot-as-hell guy whose ass you've been admiring, not only by staring but also by writing haikus, amirite? Horny teenager, anyone?
But this isn't just a feel-good funny romance with characters getting caught in compromising situations. No, once you realize that this is a Lisa Henry book, you start to read more carefully and see how cleverly she inserted the hard, I mean, difficult stuff.
Nick's angst of not only being away from BFF Devon when he heads for college (these two are so charmingly co-dependent) but also not knowing what he wants to really study (quite normal for someone his age) is what really did it for me in this book. Add to that his somewhat precarious relationship with his parents, especially his dad, and the disappointment he sees in their eyes, and the realism in this book jumped to new heights.
Nick is a typical teenager at 18 - selfish to some extent, unable to think much further than his own desires and wants, and not really seeing that the world extends past his nose and surely doesn't revolve around him. He's also got an affinity for LotR.
Jai on the other hand is at 25 a bit more grown-up. He spends the summer in his small home-town to work and save up money so he can travel all over the world for the rest of the year. Never one to be in a long-term relationship, he romances whoever, male or female, is available and willing for a while, and then moves on, no hard feelings. No real feelings at all, really. He's a bit shocked by Nick's blurty awkwardness, but his dick sure isn't. The prospect of having a no-strings relationship for while he's home works for him, and he find Nick oddly charming.
But then he gets to know Nick, and starts to see the Nick he's kept hidden, the one who has some real angst and fears, who's worried, and who needs a shoulder to lean on and someone to understand and just listen.
As Jai becomes that for Nick, Nick also realizes that he's been a bit self-absorbed, and that he doesn't have to be that way. He starts making an effort, though he's still not clear on how to convey to his father that what he envision for himself and what his father envisions doesn't match. And it comes across quite well that Nick is, despite being a typical teenager, also kind and sweet and thinking of others, something that is made very clear in one particular situation.
There's actually some growth here too, for both main characters, not just Nick. Jai too realizes a couple of truths about himself that he has never actually considered, and as he falls more and more for Nick, he begins to think more long-term. And also think about why he keeps wanting to escape, not only from his home-town but also a romantic relationship.
While some people may call the ending a HEA, I'm more inclined to call it a HFN, considering that this is Nick's first adult relationship and that they haven't been together all that long when the book ends.
But it ends on a really good note, with some resolutions made.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **