Rating: 5 stars
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“Plans change, babe. They change, so you adapt.”
Ryan Sanders loves his local community center. When he was younger and in need of healing, the Emmett Paige Community Center saved him. And when the need arises to help with a new fundraiser, Ryan volunteers to approach local businesses. Unfortunately, Langley-Quartermaine Financial is on his list of companies. Ryan fears seeing Adam again. It’s been three years since he’s seen the man. Three years since his heart was ripped out of his chest. Seeing Adam is certain to bring all of those feelings back to the surface. And Ryan isn’t sure how he will react to the man who broke his heart and left him behind.
Adam Langley never expected to see Ryan again, at least not so soon. He had a plan. A plan that saw him finishing his final year of college, receiving his inheritance – able to stand on his own two feet without his father’s help – then finding Ryan and begging his forgiveness. But Ryan showing up so soon in his life is definitely not part of that plan. Three years ago, Adam lost his best friend, and, after being hit in the head with a brick, Adam still doesn’t remember that night. He’s missed Ryan for the past three years, but having Ryan in his life now is unexpected.
When Adam convinces his father and Mr. Quartermaine to invest in the community center project, Adam is reluctant to work with Ryan, but he can’t turn his back on the man again. Spending time together and learning the beautiful and terrible truth about that night brings Adam and Ryan closer. But when Adam’s closeted life collides with Ryan’s reality, Adam has to decide what is truly important in his life at the cost of either his relationship with Ryan or the relationship with his father.
So I own not a notion
I escape and ape content
I don’t own emotion, I rent
“What You Own”
from Rent, the Musical
It may come as a surprise to you, or maybe not, but I love, LOVE Broadway. And Rent is one of my all-time favorites. In fact, I’ve played Maureen. But I digress. This book is yet another reason that I absolutely adore A.M. Arthur. I have ceased to be surprised by the level of quality, the emotion, the perfection. I’ve come to expect it, yet my expectations are always blown out of the water. In the year, since I’ve discovered Arthur, she has become a must-read author for me. And this book is definitely on the must read list.
Ryan and Adam are prime examples of what I love about this book. Both men so hurt, so broken, so complex. You can’t look away from them. Ryan is living with a trauma that would bring most men to disaster. Yet he has become a strong role model for young men just like him. He’s not perfect. He’s damaged, but he’s doing his best to move on. Adam is living the life his father wants for him. He’s stuck in a life he doesn’t want. And he feels like a coward, but truthfully, his heart is so big that he can’t stand the thought of giving up the two men he loves most in his life. He’s the perfect example of wanting your cake and eating it too. He’s a man of contradiction, finally discovering himself and what it means to live his own life, but afraid to do so, afraid to step out of the closet because he might lose his father.
Outwardly, nothing about me had changed. I was still Adam Langley, born with a trust fund and a family name. I wore a suit and tie like most of the other men already seated having a three-martini lunch. And I was with my father, who received polite, personal greetings from the hostess, the server, and two men at a table near us.
Inwardly, I was a different person, and the only one who could see the new me was Ryan.
Adam and Ryan’s journey is painful not only for the characters, but for the readers as well. That night. You’ve already seen me mention it before. It is a night of mystery in this story. A night that inspires fear and trepidation. A night that brings tears to my eyes. Yes, it’s another of those difficult subjects that some don’t like to talk about. But to me, for Adam and Ryan it is a healing experience to look back on…now. Then it was something that happened to them, that ruined them, that changed their lives. I love the way this author takes that night and makes it a barrier between Ryan and Adam, then makes it their common ground, subsequently making it their saving grace. It’s amazing to me how this story plays out so beautifully, so flawlessly.
I don’t want to give too much away, because I want you to feel the story as much as I did. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you of the subject of rape in this story. It is not graphic. The events happen before the story and are not described in detail. But they are talked about.
Technically, the writing is perfect. The storytelling is captivating. I always know the sign of a good book when I forget that I’m supposed to be critiquing a book and instead lose myself in the lives of the characters, the flow of the story, and the beauty of the world. What You Own is definitely one of those books. Whereas the ending is not a fairytale ending, it’s the perfect ending to this story.
I loved What You Own by AM Arthur. It’s painful. It’s beautiful. It’s real. And I look forward to whatever this author has coming up next. Highly Recommended.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.