The Decisions We Make is chock full of tropes, but friends to lovers is the primary one, and this is the reason that I selected this book for review this week. I have had this book for a few months, and with a busy schedule, was never able to get to it…until now.
Daniel Keys is taken in by foster parents Sue and Don Walker after his parents’s death, and is immediately taken under the wing of the middle, and most rambunctious of the Walker children, Jamie. As the boys grow up, they take different paths. Jamie is the popular one and captain of the basketball team, and Daniel, the quiet, artistic boy, is as different from Jamie as one can get.
The difference run even deeper when Daniel comes out to his foster family, but keeps one secret from them all. Daniel loves Jamie, and not in a brotherly way. Daniel’s unrequited love is a slow form of torture for the quiet insecure boy.
While Daniel pines for Jamie, schoolmate Lucy has her eye on the popular jock for a number of reasons, ready to snag the gorgeous guy not only for her boyfriend, but also as the guy to whom she will give up her virginity. Bitter at finding out that the object of her affection is gay, and not happy with being played as a fool, Lucy turns her skills at manipulation to target Jamie in a different way, to make Jamie pay for his betrayal.
There is something about the friends to lovers trope that I really like, and then make it a YA coming out story with all of the drama and a heavy dose of sweet, and you have a satisfying and entertaining read.
From the very beginning, I felt an empathy for Daniel, new to the Walker home, shy, introverted, and so very lost. Then throw in Jamie, his wild exuberance, and almost desperate need to make Daniel feel welcome and, in a few short pages, we have a solid understanding of our main characters, what motivates them, and so begins our journey.
I liked the dynamic between Jamie and Daniel, as well as between Daniel and the entire Walker family. In this regard, Scott painted what I think was a realistic picture of a great family. No I am not saying that the Walkers are not without their flaws, thank goodness, because those very flaws are what made them feel realistic to me.
Call me naive, but OMG! Are high school girls really that nasty, manipulative and self-centered? Apparently yes, so says my neighbor. Lucy and the culminating events were current and relevant, and yes, I’m not saying too much in this regard, but the sad reality is that coming out in school, whether by choice or by not is a dangerous proposition, and Scott addressed every facet of Jamie and Daniel’s experiences well.
Punctuation was an issue, with the use of many semi-colons, a noticeable lack of contractions, and quite a few of what I call “Briticisms” that affected the flow of the story, giving it a stiff feeling at times. The Briticisms were obvious to me, and perhaps would not be an issue under different circumstances, but coming from kids/teens, their use pulled me out of the story.
The final verdict? This is an enjoyable book with great characters that was well worth the read. I only wish I had read it sooner.