Just 12 years old when his parents separate, Cooper finds himself sharing his father with his father’s new girlfriend and her son, Jace. And if the whole situation is not hard enough on Cooper, he hears Jace calls his father Dad. The entire foundation of Cooper’s life is not so solid anymore. At least he has his rocks to calm and soothe him. At first glance, he loathes Jace for taking his family away. But, there is something about that first glance that promises life will forever be altered.
Working against the new life forced upon him, Cooper gets off to a rough start with Jace. Living in the room next door to each other part of the time, Cooper and Jace forge what seems at first to be an unlikely friendship. Just friendship. Because Cooper knows Jace will never look at him any other way, even though they are not real brothers. Through a decade of life, family, longing, and matters of the heart, Cooper and Jace stay connected and attempt to write their own love story ultimately on their own terms.
This book. I started this book, just kept reading it, and could barely put it down. The well written, descriptive words just flow, and the story progresses at an even and constant pace. We have Cooper who is desperately trying to navigate the meaning of adult relationships when his family falls apart. Cooper is a bit quirky. He collects rocks, at times as a coping mechanism, and is fascinated with the meanings behind what the rocks stand for and he attaches memories to each one he collects. Having the story told from his POV allows the quirkiness to be kept to a minimum and the information on all of the rocks was just enough to add to and complement the story.
This is a coming of age journey of falling in love. Once Cooper and Jace reluctantly decide to make the best of their situation and become friends, they just get each other. Cooper understands who he is, just comes out one day, and his family is supportive. Being in Cooper’s head, there is a good sense of who he is, and we see him grow and become strong and confident over the years. While Jace is sensitive and looks out for Cooper, Jace’s journey has a few more twists and turns. We feel the attraction for Cooper just coming off of Jace, but like Jace says, “It’s complicated.” Indeed it is.
The story takes us through their teen years and then post college with plenty of inner turmoil and heartbreak along the way. There could have been a bit more time with the guys together in a relationship. And, when Jace’s mother tells the boys she has no more time for lies, she is not the most forthcoming, and that is the one area of the story that still leaves me with questions as to why she remains secretive. The story most definitely walks a fine line between the stepbrother issue and getting Cooper and Jace to a place where they need to be is an emotional ride.
Rock is a love story filled with first love, forever love, heartbreak, lust, longing, and a story of the one that makes you complete no matter what. A most excellent read.