Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★
An athlete and introvert from a family touched by loss, Ryan Mattson splits his life between reading and spending time with his dad and precocious younger sister. With the wounds of Ryan’s past almost healed, high school is simple, and so is everything else.
But that changes when he’s paired with Adam for a class project. Adam, the guy with birthmarks like flecks of mud and compost-brown eyes that hide behind dorky glasses. Grudgingly, the two young men work together, and as they do, an unlikely friendship is formed.
With the passing college years, their bond deepens and grows. Even Ryan’s sister and dad take a liking to Adam, and the family – always missing a voice – seems to gain another. But just as Ryan is forced to confront what Adam really means to him, his family is dragged toward crisis. And beneath the silent snows and starlit sky of a Minnesota winter, their friendship will be tested more than ever before.
I discovered Chase Potter through his wonderful debut novel, The Race for Second. Two more stories followed, each even better than its predecessor, but now he’s written The Music of the Spheres, a novel so moving and heartwarming that I found it impossible to put down.
Its a tale of two young men, told from the perspective of Ryan Mattson, whose world was shattered when his mother died. Rebuilding after that trauma made his small family stronger and more bonded but a little insular. So when a school assignment brings him into contact with Adam Haskamp, Ryan’s reactions aren’t exactly social. Then again neither are Adam’s. Its not a particularly good first beginning but slowly, like a tentative dance, the two young men start to discover things about each other that they connect with. How I loved this way to bring them together. Potter made it feel so natural, you could feel it when the friendship kicks end and the vulnerabilities start to reveal themselves through the conversations and the descriptions of the body language and clothes.
Those characters are going to dig themselves so deep into your heart, starting with Ryan who doesn’t see himself as the special, caring person he is. Ryan can be a little, no a lot, naive about things. Like those who just don’t pick up on clues while everyone else around them has not only gathered all the clues but solved the mystery and moved on to something else. I know people like that so I could see Ryan so clearly. Adam too is painted so beautifully in words and descriptions that I could never get enough of him, every scene just cried out for more of his presence as his personality is so strong and yet so painfully vulnerable. And together? They have a friendship and romance everyone will want to see work and become something wonderful.
There’s Ryan’s father and brilliant sister and their own interactions with Ryan and Adam, at the start and as the relationship progresses. Trust me, there is so much to love here. You will find yourself quickly connected to these characters and their lives, your emotions riding along with theirs. Yes, have that box of tissues handy, you will need it at times.
I’m not going into too much detail here, so much of this story should be savored, from the small revelations to the large painful realities everyone must go through. It all feels so authentic that at times I thought my Kindle would bleed with the pain and angst. There are sections that some might feel a little slow but there are times in Ryan’s life when its introspection not action that he needs, so the pace feels right to me.
There is one nagging element, the tale of the disappearing blind dog. He’s there and then, he’s gone. I did talk to the author about this and was satisfied. Unfortunately, I can’t say more at this time. Hopefully that will change in the future and I will be able to update this review. But it wasn’t enough to take away from the rating.
Need a story to lose yourself in? Love a friends to lovers romance? I haven’t even mentioned the magical inspiration behind the title, that might bring you to tears. It did me as did the story behind the cover. The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter has it all, deep friendship, family, self knowledge and enduring love. Please don’t pass this one up, I highly recommend it to all.
Cover Artist: Chase Potter. That is Chase and his husband, then fiance’, in that photograph on their engagement trip. It makes that cover and its part in this book even more magical.
Sales Link: Amazon | Buy It Here
Kindle Edition, 239 pages
Published January 21st 2016 by Chase Potter Books