Aaron has just graduated college, along with all of his friends. After high school, Aaron moved from Texas to New York City to make a new life for himself. Now his best friend is getting married and all of his closest friends will be spending a week together before the wedding. This also includes Nik.
Nik was Aaron’s first…everything. Aaron loved Nik with the magical intensity that makes up first love. They had plans. Plans that included going to NYC together. But Nik suddenly told Aaron that he couldn’t go and with one blow up fight and no discussion, their relationship ended badly.
Although they have seen each other during the last four years, they have never spoken of their breakup or the circumstances surrounding that time in their lives. They have never spoken of the hurt that Aaron carries in his soul. One look at Nik and Aaron knows. He knows that Nik is coming for him. Aaron will not allow himself to have just a fling with Nik and spending a week in close quarters will have the men figuring out if the magic they still feel is strong enough to exist in the real world.
There is so much I love about this book. A good portion of what I love so much is the style of the writing. The writing is quietly beautiful and has a melodic cadence with a dreamy quality that I became lost in. It’s important to note this because as much as this style is exactly what I love to read, I understand that it is potentially not for everyone.
The book is told from Aaron’s point of view. He’s a writer and he’s introspective and at times melancholy. The entire story is a love letter, a love song, to friends and to love. The book opens with a series of emails regarding the upcoming wedding of Aaron’s closest friend. Throughout the book there are emails, both past and present, as well as Aaron’s blog posts that offer a unique and creative insight into Aaron, as well as his relationships with his friends and with Nik.
The wedding is the catalyst to get all of the friends in one place. Aaron knew Nik was going to be there and he had months to prepare for it, yet when it comes down to it he’s really not prepared. I really understood what happened with Aaron and Nik. They were 18 and life was moving them in directions they were not ready for. An emotional conversation was not in the cards for them at that age and this is an example of there being two sides to every story. At first, we only see glimpses of their breakup the way Aaron saw it, but Aaron never asked any questions, and Nik never spoke up.
Aaron is the most perfect friend. He can bake, tailor clothing, shop, accessorize, sing, and seemingly slay whatever dragons arise for his friends. While Aaron is the heart and soul of the story, it is also an ensemble piece. There are many friends and they all have a special place in Aaron’s life as well as each other’s lives. Many of them are true secondary characters and add to the overall feel and show the depth of friendship that this story strikes a cord with. Other times there were too many friends as new names were being introduced throughout a good portion of the book and the sheer volume became unnecessary.
As the first in their group is to be married, Aaron becomes reflective as he describes the group of friends as being in each other’s backpacks during high school and it’s obvious how he cares for his friends. The base of the story was how everything was everybody’s business. But it was not always shown as going both ways in Aaron’s best interest as the one thing that may have alleviated some of Aaron’s pain was kept from him and that stuck with me throughout the entire book. The epilogue also continues with the ensemble feel. After everything Aaron and Nik had gone through to get to that point, I would have liked it be more focused on them as it was written with a broad scope.
The story of Aaron and Nik becomes so heartfelt due to the way in which it is told. The scene where Aaron and Nik fully reconnect is insanely intense, sensual, needy, erotic, tender, loving, and raw. McWarren is truly able to capture and execute the feeling of becoming one with someone. It is that scene that absolutely elevates this book to a magical level. The book offers an emotional angle in the sense that sometimes you do get lucky and sometimes you do get it right. At its heart and soul it’s a love story. Aaron knows that, “…I’m in love with him. I have always been in love with him, and it really is that simple. I am for him.”