We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: MM New Adult
Review: Dante is pretty miserable, hiding himself and trying to be “normal”, without much success. A disastrous attempt at het sex with a sure thing makes him not only question himself but also hide himself even more.
At college, when he sees the so lovely coal-haired Serena (not that he gets her name), he’s smitten but of course, too insecure to talk to her. “What could a gem like her and a plain guy like me have in common?”, leading to “I’d lost my chance, but face it – I wouldn’t have taken it.”
Oddly, Dante is on his way to an LGBTQ meeting as the result of losing a bet with his best friend, Greg. This is so uncomfortable for him, you kind of squirm. Luckily, he meets a very friendly, secure James there, determined to be Dante’s friend. It is James who basically introduces Dante to Sven (or Seven, as James calls him), although at their first intro Sven is rude (refusing to shake hands, for example). But he does make amends for that and it is a friendship in the making.
Things take a turn when Greg and Dante get drunk one night and Dante makes a serious confession. He laughs it off the next day but… I was seriously begging in my head that Greg not be a jerk about it, especially after finding out Greg had some jerk tendencies when it came to standing up for what was right.
Dante is thrilled to be spending time with the beautiful Serena even as he is massively confused about his feelings for Sven.
An interesting take on this is the reason for Sven’s behavior. I found it a creative way to be brave, even if it wasn’t the smartest if you were looking for long term.
Dante’s first time with sex here is sweet, awkward and so endearing, hands shaking and avoiding eye contact. It was SO Dante.
There are, of course, even more complications, Garrett (and yes, I totally understood Sven’s problem with this); Sven’s fighting, Dante’s hiding; Greg’s reticence (and cowardice for some of it); and of course, Serena. It works out in a good way, and while really there isn’t a ton of angst, it’s not sappy and fluffy. It’s balanced very well.
And just an aside, Dante’s mother? Awesome. “You love Christmastime and you’ve been sitting around looking constipated all night”. And her way of allowing Dante to tell things his own way was wonderful. Add in the note from Dad, and it’s just what Dante deserves.