After a college prank gone wrong, Jonas Ashcroft has been exiled to his aunt and uncle’s house in Wilmington, Delaware and is working in their thrift shop for the year. Jonas has never been able to please his conservative father, and this is just the latest of ways he has disappointed him. Now Jonas is stuck with family he doesn’t really know, working in the thrift shop, and away from his friends and life at college.
Tate grew up fast, raising his sisters when he was only a teenager himself. Now Tate helps run the local LGBT shelter for teens. When Jonas meets Tate, at first he is not interested in having anything to do with him. Especially because Tate not only challenges Jonas, but makes him think about who he is and what he really wants. Tate is pretty sure Jonas is gay, but Jonas needs to admit it to himself.
Strangely, although this is punishment for Jonas, he actually finds he doesn’t mind the time he is spending away. Keeping up his cool frat guy persona is exhausting and dealing with his father is horrible. Being far away from his old life, with family who actually cares about him, gives Jonas the strength to admit that he is gay. And even more, the ability to act on his feelings with Tate. Soon the guys begin to get serious with one another, and Jonas is happier than he has ever been. But when his father gets involved in his life again, Jonas is faced with a choice that could change his life forever.
Come What May is the first book in A.M. Arthur’s new All Saints series. I have never read this author before, but she is a big favorite here on the blog, so I was excited to give her a try with this new series. Overall I found it enjoyable with two likable characters in Jonas and Tate.
When we first meet Jonas he is still stuck in his college, frat guy mode, keeping up the persona he has always maintained at school. He isn’t happy to be missing college, knowing that this is a setback in his goal to finish school, get a job, and get away from his father’s influence. Jonas doesn’t quite know what to make of Tate, and we can see he is kind of intimidated by Tate’s confidence, easy friendships, and the way he seems to have his life under control. It takes a bit for Jonas to let down his walls with Tate, especially because Tate makes him think about his own sexuality, something he has been denying for years.
I liked the contrast of these guys together. Jonas is someone who has always been under his father’s thumb, who has lived his life in a failed attempt to win his father’s approval. He puts on this fake persona of the obnoxious frat boy: homophobic, arrogant, and dating endless women. But it is not who Jonas really is, and over time he sheds that old skin and we see the kind, caring guy he really is inside. For Jonas this journey is about growing up and discovering who he is and what he wants out of life, and being brave enough to accept it. Tate, on the other hand, grew up way too soon. He was forced to struggle for survival and do things that no one should have to do. Tate is filled with regret that he wasn’t able to protect his sisters soon enough, even though he has always done everything he can for them. So for Tate, he needs to find forgiveness for himself and accept that he has done his best in life. Both Tate and Jonas are sweet, good guys who are caring and loving to those around them. I found it rewarding to see them happy and find their way together throughout the story.
I think where I struggled a little here is that things move very fast in the beginning, and so I had somewhat of a hard time feeling the connection between them and the full character growth on Jonas’ end. We are led to believe this guy was pretty much a total asshole at college, but we don’t get much in the way of specifics, and we don’t see him really behaving that badly at any point while in Wilmington. In order to really feel his redemption from this homophobic jerk who keeps up this macho posturing, I needed to see him behaving badly, or at least hear more about it. He mostly goes from kind of sullen to fabulous and so I didn’t quite feel the same impact or sense of dramatic change as I think we were supposed to get from him.
I also feel like things happen pretty fast with Tate. Tate decides after only a brief time with Jonas that he is really gay, and then pretty much right away Jonas admits/accepts it. I found it a little confusing whether Jonas has always known he was gay and couldn’t admit it, or if he just now realized it. But either way, it happens so fast that he goes from in total denial to acceptance that again, I didn’t feel like we get time to really see his growth or change, it just happens. And then the two of them are full on in a relationship, full steam ahead. All this happens so early on that I just felt like we don’t get a chance to really see any of these things develop, we just go from jerky, closeted Jonas to a wonderful person who is out and in love really fast.
I don’t think any of these are huge issues, but it did make me feel like I wasn’t quite getting the full impact of Jonas’ growth, nor of their connection to each other quite as intensely as I wanted. But like I said, these are two really likable guys. And I really enjoyed seeing them together and seeing Jonas’ ultimately change and improve his life. Neither guy has it easy, but they are good to each other and have the support of Jonas’ aunt and uncle, and I was definitely rooting for them.
As I mentioned, this is the first of the series and we meet lots of side characters who I assume will become part of the series as it goes forward. I am really intrigued by these guys and looking forward to their stories and seeing this great community develop. So a really nice start here and I am looking forward to more.