Rating: 4 stars out of 5
I really enjoyed this story. Kate McMurray has a way of creating characters that are memorable—not because they are perfect, but because they are flawed.
In this instance, Jeremy and his best friend, Max, grew up in New Jersey and took advantage of their proximity to Broadway to indulge in their favorite activity—going to musicals. Actually, Max’s favorite activity was watching Jeremy enjoy the shows. His beautiful face would light up and he’d become entranced with the action, while Max enjoyed the side benefit of his best friend’s pleasure. And Jeremy could sing and dance so added to his good looks, they both knew he’d be Broadway bound as soon as they were done with school. And Max? Max honed his art talent, and when it appeared he could apply his talent with a brush to makeup as well as paint, he began to uses his face, and then others in school play productions (including Jeremy’s) as his canvas.
They’re now in their late twenties, Jeremy’s boyfriend has dumped him and kicked him out of his apartment, and so he comes knocking on Max’s door looking for a place to stay. And even though Max took his own apartment years ago because he loved Jeremy with all his heart, and he knows it’s a bad idea to be so close to him without revealing his secret, he gives in and Jeremy moves to his couch. For a while…until he ends up in Max’s bed. And Max wants him there. He finally tells Jeremy just how much he loves him, but then doubts himself and worries that if Jeremy can’t return his love, they’ll lose what they have as best friends. And that would kill Max. So just as Jeremy lands the lead role on a new Broadway show—his chance of a lifetime—and Max gets the contract to do the makeup for that same show and another huge production, Max asks for a cooling off period and sends them both into chaos.
And that’s when the angst kicked in. For me, it was too much angst for too long. Yes, we learn that Max suffers from depression and has lower self-esteem than seems warranted by what we learn of him, but the period of separation and anxiety and self-induced angst that then carried over to Jeremy at a time when he should have been on top of the world made me start to really dislike Max. And that’s too bad because he was a well-developed character. Perhaps that was the point the author wanted to make. Those who suffer from depression sometimes scuttle their own boat. I’ve seen it in my family. He should have been (blank) and he should have done (blank). Shoulda, coulda, woulda. But he nearly tanked them.
What saved the day is this young man, who knows now that he’s in love with his best friend, has been for a while though didn’t realize it until recently, who’s now at the pinnacle of his career because he kept trying, and dreaming, and hoping, and working toward his goal. And when he stops to think about it, he realizes he can’t give up on Max. He takes all his positive energy and focuses on the show and on being there when Max finally comes down from his anxiety ladder and sees the light. Pun intended.
So I loved the beginning, didn’t care for the level of tummy-turning angst in the middle, but from Chapter Twenty to the end, I couldn’t put the book down. I was there at the premiere, sitting in the front row as Jeremy stood alone in the spotlight and belted out the first notes to the song. This is most definitely a love story and if you’ve ever gone to a Broadway play or sang out loud with Streisand or Minelli, this book is for you.
Cover art is light and bright and eye catching.
Expected publication: January 28th 2019 by Carina Press
Edition Language English