Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Ezra Kellerman flew across country to see if he had another chance with the man he let slip through his fingers. He didn’t. Rico has moved on, but he doesn’t just leave his ex high and dry. Instead, Rico entrusts his family and friends with Ezra’s care. Ezra, confused, hurt, and lost, clings to Rico’s cousin and his boyfriend as the lifelines they are—but their friend Miguel is another story.
Miguel Rodriguez had great plans and ambition—but a hearty dose of real life crushed those flat. When Miguel finds himself partially in charge of the befuddled, dreamy, healing Ezra, he’s pretty resentful at first. But Ezra’s placid nature and sincere wonder at the simple life Miguel has taken for granted begin to soften Miguel’s hardened shell. Miguel starts to notice that Ezra isn’t just amazingly sweet—he’s achingly beautiful as well. Suddenly Miguel is fending off every single man on the planet to give Ezra room to get over Rico—while fighting a burning suspicion that the best thing to help Ezra get over his broken heart is Miguel.
Lollipop is a sweet make-believe contemporary story. It’s hard to believe someone can live the MCs’ lives, but at the same time, the boardwalk/Sacramento settings grounds the story into reality. Even so, the small glances of fantasy/paranormal abilities don’t retract from the overall story.
From the moment Miguel sets eyes on Ezra, he’s drawn to him. His confusion to his reaction had him trying to put Ezra down, but when he realizes the polished man’s already broken. Miguel wants to protect Ezra and bring him back to life. Seeing Ezra being dismissed by Rico shows Miguel that they weren’t as different as he first thought– they were both invisible.
When Ezra arrives at Rico’s apartment, he realizes his mistake. He hadn’t been strong enough to stand up to his father, and now, it was too late to get Rico back. Having this knowledge does nothing to comfort Ezra’s broken heart. Fortunately, he finds an insta-family ready to help him get over Rico and all the years of hurt he endured living under his father’s thumb.
The story had some slow and awkward moments that take away from the main characters’ relationship. The dialogue and the banter worked with the rest of the series, and it was nice to see how the relationships on the previous books have evolved.
So far, this installment is my favorite in the series. The connection between Miguel and Ezra was a slow-burn, based on a friendship and how much they care for each other. Together, they discovered their place in the grand scheme of things and learned to be there for each other.
Overall, this story is about finding your place, love, friendship, and family. Ezra and Miguel found much more than love; they found acceptance and a future they could work together for. Plus, we get some clues into the next book in the series.
As with the previous two books, Philip Alces did an excellent job with the characters’ voices. He kept them consistent through all the Candy Man stories. He did a good job with the Spanish bits and the female voices, too.
The cover by Paul Richmond matches the previous two books and it’s an adaptation from the ebook one. It has Ezra’s lollipops and Clopper & Jake on it.
Narrator: Philip Alces
Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes
Published: March 21, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English