Patrick cannot wait to get out of high school and out of Fresno. He’s more than ready to leave the small town and the bullying behind for college and the allure of San Francisco. Patrick wants to see more of what life has to offer and finding an apartment is first on his list. The shared apartment he looks at has many things on offer, but perhaps the most enticing is Josh.
Josh has always lived in San Francisco and he knows he’s lucky to be there. Part of him wishes he left his hometown, but the support of his family is comforting. Josh is attracted to Patrick immediately, but he has no idea what he can offer him. Josh thinks he’s good at one thing, and that does not include monogamy. But Patrick makes him want things and makes him want to change, but they both have some growing up to do and they both have to settle their pasts in order to move forward with a future together.
This was a well done, in depth, coming of age story that was also this author’s debut. The book focuses on both Patrick and Josh and we get both points of view. The characters are well developed and there is a true sense of knowing both guys by the book’s end.
Patrick is finally leaving conservative Fresno for San Francisco. While he can’t wait, he’s close to his family and he has mixed feelings about truly being on his own. The book is character driven and relationship driven, and the focus is on growing up with a coming of age feel. The guys both have a reasonably good support system with immediate family and they don’t have to take on side jobs in addition to their studies and their personal journey is the draw. As the guys focus on their growing feelings for each other, there are growing pains, but little angst overall.
Patrick and Josh are opposites in a lot of ways. Patrick had a truly difficult time in school, where Josh grew up in a much more liberal area. Patrick is a virgin who identifies as gay, where Josh identifies as pansexual and has spent time with many partners. The first portion of the book focuses more on getting to know Patrick and then we get more of the story on what events from Josh’s past make up his current decisions.
At first, Patrick doesn’t think he has a chance at all with Josh and Josh thinks his past may be too tainted to give Patrick what he needs. The characters make mistakes and they are working on communicating, but their actions were age appropriate. The writing was softer and descriptive and watching Patrick and Josh find their way to each other was engaging all of the way through the book.
There was one issue I had, and it did get in the way of my overall enjoyment of the book. While it was refreshing to see a Jewish MC represented and we learn early on that Josh is Jewish, the way in which some of the language was used was simply off for me. Josh and his family used certain words that are known to be derogatory in nature. While these words can at times be used within families, and it’s a sensitive balance here, the main issue for me, and I have vast experience with this, was that the words were not quite used correctly. It’s complicated and nuanced, but that was my qualified interpretation.
While it was difficult to put that issue aside, the rest of the book flowed well and had a good pace. The author captures the characters’ feelings of pure first love while trying to figure out their place in the world, who they want to be, and how they want to be seen. I would still recommend the book as a whole, but I do have some personal reservations.