Evan has always been in love with Scott on some level. The two became friends in the second grade and Evan’s life was so much better with Scott in it. They remained tight throughout high school and when Evan began to want something more, he had to watch Scott date all the girls. Except for the one night when Scott kissed Evan, but Evan didn’t think it could really mean anything and it was never spoken of again.
Life sends the guys in separate directions, but when they meet again it all comes back for Evan and he knows he will always love Scott. But Evan has to find a way to make a lifetime of friendship turn into a lifetime of love.
Childhood friends to lovers will always draw my attention and this book accomplishes that. Told in a non-linear fashion, we get the story of Evan and Scott and a love that was decades in the making. The book starts with the second kiss and then continues out of order to include all five kisses, plus one that the title suggests. This worked well for me at first and when we moved ahead, there was initial tension being built to see what did happen and then what ultimately will happen for these guys.
Told from Evan’s POV, we see how Scott was always the person he wanted to be with most. The chapters range from a sweet, innocent childhood kiss, to high school, and beyond. Evan and Scott’s home lives were different with Evan growing up as an only child with a single mother and Scott having a wealthy family and several siblings, but none of this impacted their friendship at all.
While childhood friends to lovers may be a favorite style of story for me, this one wasn’t my favorite book. Part of it was the execution and part of it was the relationship itself. I found the early years of their friendship to have a stronger bond for the guys then their later years did. At first, I enjoyed the tension that was built by the story being told out of order, but then I found myself with time gaps in the story that weren’t all filled in to a satisfying conclusion.
There was also a lot of detail that didn’t advance the story for me. Evan is attending a wedding that is a catalyst to him seeing Scott at one point, however, there were more details on the wedding than I needed. This was also true for some of Evan’s home life as a young boy and I would have rather spent the time filling those gaps in time that weren’t discussed much.
There was time that they were apart and I couldn’t buy into the reason they lost contact for so long without making a more concentrated effort to fix the issue. When the guys do get together, the style of the narrative made it anticlimactic and I never felt they got back the ease of their relationship. They were even talking about it being “weird” and it kinda was as they spent considerable time being hesitant and somewhat uncomfortable around each other. There was also the familiar and tired plotline of the medical crisis added in to advance their relationship. The last 20% of the book was just them all in happy days and even then there was still awkwardness to their relationship that came across.
The author states that she gives a nod to the 5+1 format for this book and the chapters are set up as such. There were chapters where it was clear where Scott kissed Evan. Then there were other times where it came across as more a mutual thing and if it was supposed to be clearly defined, some of the impact on that front was lost for me.
I was mixed on this one clearly. It was a quick read and it had its moments with two friends that have loved each other all their life finding their way to happily ever after.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.