Rating: 4.25 stars
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Ever since Chris rescued Theo from the school bullies in the sixth grade, they have been the best of friends. Now in high school, their bond remains close. Even though they come from different backgrounds, with Theo having a single mother and a distant, yet demanding, father compared to Chris’ wealthier lifestyle, Chris and Theo’s friendship is a perfect fit.
Although now, Theo has developed feelings for Chris and he has a hard time keeping himself in check around him. There are times he feels that Chris might have feelings for him as well and while Theo wants to tell Chris how he feels, he thinks Chris is straight and the fear of losing their friendship is real.
When a new kid, Dave, comes to school, Theo begins a physical relationship with him in the hopes of trying to get himself over Chris. But Dave is not at all the right fit and the end of that relationship leaves Theo horribly betrayed. But Chris is there to keep Theo together and when Theo has to confront his own sexuality, he takes a chance that Chris might be there for him in all the ways he had dreamed about.
This book drew me in and it was engaging to read about Theo as he navigates his love for his best friend, as well as coming out. The book is told through Theo’s POV, but the author does a great job of getting us to know Chris almost as well. Theo never fully understood why Chris stood up for him that day years ago and he still feels like the in crowd only tolerates him for Chris’ sake. Chris feels differently.
The guys have a scene of experimentation early on in the book, but then push it aside as a one-time thing, even though Theo wants more. In an attempt to try to move on from his feelings for Chris, Theo starts hooking up with Dave, the new guy at school. Theo and Dave don’t start out in the best of ways and he is first known as “Asshole Dave.” He finishes with that name as well as he betrays Theo and Theo’s world implodes within a moment.
I liked a lot of what Lascarso was able to do here. She made Theo a likable character with Chris as the best kind of friend who had his back and they were age appropriate. Some not so great things happen to Theo and while they hurt, he didn’t wallow in all that had gone wrong and continued to move forward as best he could. The guys surf and skateboard and we are shown a real sense of the time they spend together and the bond they share.
There are some usual suspects along the way with Theo’s self-absorbed twin sister, as well as some parents that offer support and others that don’t, but it all helped to tell Theo’s story for where he was in his life. There is also a secondary storyline involving Theo’s uncle who lives in as assisted living facility and that was one area that didn’t quite fit in for me and felt incomplete at the end.
The book features high school age characters, but there are several explicit on page intimate scenes that would not be classified as YA, so be aware. The book had a quiet atmosphere that was easy to fall into as Theo navigated the world around him. It offers a great friends-to-lovers storyline and although Theo and Chris are still teens at the end of the book, the author will make you believe in their HEA.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.