Cody has never been able to stay in one place for too long and it’s time to move on again when a new band opportunity arises. As Cody travels across the country by train, he meets eighteen-year old Sandy. Sandy left home and is traveling to see his uncle Phineas in Portland, which is also Cody’s destination. When Cody finally lays eyes on Phineas, his days of wandering may just be coming to an end.
Phineas has been living in the shadows after the death of his longtime partner. It’s been four years, but Phineas can’t move on. He has given up everything he once loved, including performing as his alter ego, drag queen Phanny Hill. When Phineas sees Cody, he feels things he thought he never would again. Cody falls for both Phineas and Phanny, but Phineas struggles to let go of the past and his guilt at moving on to a life with Cody.
There You Are follows the first book in the series, Wild and Precious, but can be read as a standalone. When I read that first book, I commented that since Cody was such an integral part of it, he needed his own story. I was then intrigued to see him indeed get his own book.
For as much as I wanted to see more of Cody, this book did not work for me. There were several reasons, but the first was that it was not fully Cody’s story. Both Phineas and Sandy’s stories overshadowed Cody. This is a shorter novel and the first half of the book is mostly dedicated to Sandy’s story of leaving home and getting up to speed on Phineas. Phineas’ story overall was needed, but the addition of Sandy in such a pivotal role and then filling in some gaps in the story of his relationship with Phineas, make for a weaker story line.
The narrative did not flow well for me at all. The characters all sounded hesitant and forced, like they were trying too hard to be cool. The characters have to be interesting enough to hold your attention and since they weren’t, I observed things such as the sheer number of exclamation points that were used in the dialogue, which made me think everyone was overly excited all of the time or yelling.
There were also a lot of voices to the story. Phineas has his own inner dialogue, but he also channels Phanny as well as the voice of his dead lover. Cody also had his own inner voice, although to a lesser degree, and there were too many voices competing for attention.
Then there were jumps in their relationship where events happened off page, which didn’t help me trying to see Phineas and Cody develop their relationship. They fall in love in a flash and are declaring it before there was even enough time to see them together as a couple. Then, Cody figures out all of his wanderlust issues during a comment from a random conversation and I was just not feeling any part of this story. This wasn’t the book for me and, while I would hesitate to recommend it, it could have appeal for some readers.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.