Review: Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris

Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Short Story


Beckett has always been aware of how cute his best friend’s younger brother is, but he’s never done more than sneak a look or two at the quiet young man. Levi can’t help but make the occasional glance at his older brother’s best friend; it would be hard not to, as handsome as he finds Beckett. However, it isn’t until a random bit of happenstance leaves the two of them alone at a diner that Levi and Beckett have a chance to do more than steal looks and think on what ifs.

Nobody Else’s is a year in the life of Beckett and Levi as they follow the path the stars have laid out for them. With humorous horoscopes and a computer programmer who can’t add, this a cute story of taking chances and being brave enough to take the first step. This isn’t a story of opposites attract, it’s instead a story of two people who are right for each other realizing that happiness is just a cup of cocoa away.

Beckett is insecure, self-conscious, and seems to have that ability to fade into the background. His parents are cold and distant and left him a little too often to his own devices, with his mother busy with charities and social work. Beckett escaped into fantasy, always hoping that the letter from Hogwarts would be flown to him on an owl’s wings, or a closet door would open to take him into Narnia. Something to show him that he was special, that he was wanted, that he deserved to be happy. But life isn’t a book and so Beckett became an accountant.

He’s not unhappy with his life, though he did recently break up with his girlfriend. He’s also constantly having to remind his best friend that no, he’s not gay, he’s bisexual. Beckett’s not ashamed of it, or made fun of for it, and while Matt — his best friend and Levi’s brother — doesn’t quite get it, he isn’t put off by it. He and Beck are friends and that’s that.  I honestly appreciated having a bisexual lead whose sexuality wasn’t a defining moment or merely a stepping stone to admitting he was gay. Also, Beckett, calm and friendly and a bit shy, seems like he’d be a great guy to hang out with.

Levi, on the other hand, is far from an only child. He and Matt are but two of his parent’s eleven children, and while Matt has escaped, Levi is still stuck at home. In a family of drama queens (yes, even Matt) and two five-year-old twins, he’s part manny, part obedient son, and the straight man, so to speak. When Levi came out to his parents as gay, his mother, upon hearing the vitriol spewed by her priest, switched churches. She loves her son, even though she relies on him a bit much, and that was also refreshing. No drama, no arguments, just a loving family and an introvert child in a family of outgoing chatterboxes.

Levi has an aptitude for computers and a love of science fiction, Star Wars in particular, and has his own business. He’s able to financially help his parents who are stretched thin with so many children, as well as keep a bit of money set aside for his parents. Like Beckett, he’s always wanted something more, something — or someone — that would see him as a person worth being loved, see him as someone special. He’s always been one of many, not inclined to show off or stand up for himself, which makes the step he takes to finally ask Beckett out a giant one, for Levi.

Often when we see this story, someone falling for the brother of a best friend, the older brother has the “don’t hurt my little brother” speech, complete with glaring, growling, and chest beating. It was nice to see the other side when Matt told his little brother that Beckett was more vulnerable than Levi might think, and that he didn’t want to see his best friend hurt. It was a moment of drama between the two of them showing how little Matt knew his little brother, and allowed a bit of conflict and resolution to come between both of them. It also showed Matt as a person, someone who, raised in a house of drama and emotion, has a best friend so calm and stable, and yet constantly picks girlfriends who are nothing but high-strung, high maintenance women that end up driving him away.

For all that this is a short story, I thought all of the characters were given a moment to shine. The pacing was lightning fast and the writing was light and clean. However, the horoscope gimmick wasn’t used to its best potential. At the beginning of each ‘chapter’ is a naughty horoscope, but they don’t really tie into the chapter or give us any hints about the characters or the story. They’re cute, but unnecessary, and could have been removed without affecting the story at all. I also appreciated that these two men, when talking about their future together, were firm on their lack of interest to have children. Levi wanted to have the man he wanted to himself, and Beckett just didn’t want kids. It’s a viewpoint you don’t see all that often in stories, and I appreciated its inclusion in this one.

elizabeth sig

Comments

  1. This does sound great! Thanks for the review, Elizabeth; I’ve added the story to my list.

  2. Wow, thanks a million for this lovely, lovely review. A well-written review like this makes my heart go pitter-patter in my chest, so thank you so much, Elizabeth!! ??

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I really enjoyed the way you reinterpreted some of the tropes, and I really liked the characters. I’m looking forward to reading more of your stories in the future.

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