We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: m/m contemporary
Justin and Landry have been best friends since middle school. Landry being gay and out has never been an issue. Although they have drifted somewhat while in college, Landry is joining Justin on a road trip after graduation to honor Justin’s Dad by visiting twelve locations his Dad chose from his photography assignments. Justin hopes they will reconnect on this trip and maybe be close again.
The story is told from Justin’s point of view.
I really enjoyed this story, a great depth to two young characters that is very well written for pace and pulling you into the story. Two young men have finished college, one completing a degree he wanted while the other did one he felt he should so he did not disappoint his Mom. The summer before they are to start new jobs that match their degrees, they are taking the motorhome Justin’s father left him in his will, to scatter his ashes at favorite photo spots, some of which Justin had planned to travel to with his Dad before his unexpected passing.
Justin felt close to his Dad though he did not seem him all that often, but he has always felt disconnected from his Mom, he feels that she wants him to be a certain way and anything that does not fit her plan, is not right. Justin found out he was the product of a party and an out of date condom and while his parents got married, his Mom filed for divorce when he was 4. The author described Justin’s feelings on this saying Justin’s Dad spent the rest of his life proving to Justin he was not a mistake while his mother spent the rest of her life proving to herself she did not make a mistake. Granted, he acknowledges that his Dad got to be the fun parent as his job as a travel photographer had him on the road most of the time so he stayed with his Mom and she had to be the structure, but her focus on her career meant they did not really connect.
This is a powerful story of parental expectations, how children interpret those expectations and how a young man can be true to himself while maintaining relationships in his life. Justin was not close to a lot of people, he had teammates in school, but not really confide in kind of friends, that was Landry and his Dad so Justin is floundering a bit because his Dad is gone so he can’t talk to him about the concerns he has about Landry, who he feels distanced from. And it turns out he is carrying around a lot for only 22 years old, which is a reminder that young people nowadays have more on their mind than you might think!
It is challenging to provide details on the story without giving too much away, but suffice it to say, with two young men who have been keeping secrets to themselves as well as each other for most of their college lives, there are some emotional explosions taking place and while, as the reader and observer, you know they are making a mistake, and often, so does Justin, he still goes with the emotion and on several occasions, he thinks he has lost the other most important relationship in his life.
However, as in life, trials can lead to realization and you come out stronger and Justin gets surprised by some of the people he can count on after all.
This was a great story, my first with this author, although I will look for more after reading this. I’d recommend this for fans of young adult stories, with romance, angst and some intimate scenes. Definitely a book I’d recommend.