Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Asher is the good boy nerd and Joe is the bad boy jock. Joe’s mom and Asher’s dad have been dating for four years and are about to get married before everything falls apart. Eleven years later, Asher and Joe meet again at a business meeting when they realize they will be working on an account together. This might appeal to those who like the second chance trope. Through scenes and flashbacks, we get layers of their personality and history together a little bit at a time throughout the book. By the end of chapter four, I am wondering why they are not together? There is never a really good answer. Immaturity? Stubbornness? Pride? Fear of more rejection? Maybe all of the above, but if they can’t talk and work things out, they shouldn’t be together anyway.
I think this is a stylistic thing for me. It’s not that it’s badly written–it isn’t. I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks, but they are effective here. I think the alternating first person POV also works well to slowly reveal both sides of the story evenly. It may be that what I don’t click with is: there is so much inner monologue in a way that doesn’t match the style of what they each say when they talk. Even though it is supposed to be first person, the inner monologues of both characters are the same, and really the author telling us what we need to know to make the story work–most of which is complicated family histories or complicated work politics. These feel like manufacturered crisis. I do like that Joe being bisexual is never a problem or issue between them.
The angst and all consuming lust/love is kept high at all times: “…the amount of energy I’d spent thinking about him had probably caused a shift in the universe and, after coming within fifty or so miles of him, I figured we’d be thrown together by the force of cosmic rays.” It’s exhausting. But, plenty of fans love angsty OTT feelings, this style seems to be popular so you might like it. I think it would be more effective if it was used more sparingly for the dramatic moments like a crescendo. Even the sex scenes, while explicit and hot, have a lot of thinking, which banks the fire for me, leaving me distanced from what’s happening. Then, there is sex scene after sex scene after sex scene, past and present. The final complications all happen because they are making plans without talking to each other. I understood that when they were teenagers, but they are late twenties (29?) now at least. Of course, they finally work it out because this is a romance, but it felt hard won even though nothing much happens in my opinion.
The cover is by Black Jazz Designs. This is obviously supposed to be Joe. With dual POV, it seems strange that only one of them are on the cover.
Published October 23rd 2018 by Edie Danford