Isaac is a closeted gay man who works for a web design company. His parents are super conservative, expecting Isaac and his sister, Sue, to find suitable partners. And, Sue brings home Logan—who has tats and bad manners—to Christmas dinner. Isaac is ashamed to be thirsting after his sister’s boyfriend…until Logan makes it crystal clear he bats for the other side and Sue hired him as a lark to distract her parents.
Turns out Logan and Isaac live quite close to one another. And, with the holidays happening, they have plenty of time to connect for little dates around town. Soon, Isaac’s meeting Logan’s best pals and they are both falling hard for one another. Isaac isn’t ashamed of his good fortune, letting his sister know that he and Logan have hit it off, but he’s not eager to come out to his parents. Logan’s willing to be patient for a bit—but the longer they are together, the more it becomes a stumbling block. Logan wants to build a life with a partner, and while Isaac wants that more than just about anything, he still struggles to find the courage to come out to his bigoted parents. But, Logan can’t really accept a half life of pretending he’s Isaac’s roommate, either. It’s likely that coming out to his parents would cost Isaac his relationships with them, but he won’t lose Sue—who had long guessed that Isaac was gay.
Some of this story was a rather bittersweet read. Isaac’s a good guy and he’s in a tough spot regarding his parents. Sue is a good sister and she’s all for Isaac finding happiness. She tries to intercede with their parents, and Isaac treasures her acceptance. Meanwhile, he looks for reasons to delay the confrontation. He’s also a bit obtuse when it comes to the feelings of his closest friends and allies. All of his queer friends have had struggles with coming out, and some have lost family over it. It’s rather solidified Isaac’s internalized homophobia. It doesn’t help that when Isaac finally does make the big decision, it leads to unexpected tragedy.
I don’t want to reveal too much, but there isn’t a silver lining there—expect blood and stitches–and Isaac needs to learn how to pick up the pieces of his shattered family and make the best life he can with people who know and celebrate his truth. But, even then he really can’t listen to other people’s issues. Logan’s got a genuine fear that he screwed up by prompting Isaac to come out to his parents—and Isaac isn’t able to hear it without thinking it’s a complete rejection of him. Meanwhile, the friends he so cherishes seem to be pulling away. Isaac’s really on a precipice of his own making, in many regards, but he’s pulled back by some sage advice from Sue. Facing the hard truths of his life isn’t easy and leads to serious trouble, but in the end, Isaac and Logan are stronger on the other side, with a love that fulfills them both.
The book itself is rather lighthearted—until the big coming out scene anyway—and Isaac is an engaging and silly narrator. He and Logan make terrible puns with each other and there’s always someone ready with a quip or a joke. I think this made the big kerfuffle in the end even more horrifying. For me, the book’s diction read a bit on the British English side, even though it’s supposedly set in Anytown, USA.
I liked the story, which does have a solid happy ending. It’s also got some yummy-steamy sexytimes and a good cast of characters. I’m glad that Isaac grew up a bit and stopped avoiding the hard conversations, because not all of them were terrible—and most resulted in improved relationships.