Todd is making his way through college and is looking to get an art degree. He has worked at the same gallery since high school and it’s so much a part of his life that when he learns the gallery isn’t bringing in the same bookings and is in financial trouble, Todd is more than a little unsettled. Todd keeps mostly to himself, but when his best friend invites him to a party, Todd reluctantly goes to support her.
A frat party filled with jocks is certainly not Todd’s idea of a good time and, when his eyes stray to Daniel and Daniel catches him looking, he thinks no good will come of it. But Daniel is interested, the group stays out all night, and Todd leaves with Daniel’s promise that he will call him. Daniel is on the swim team and in the process of applying to law school and Todd would have said that Daniel was completely not his type. Only Daniel may be more involved with the gallery than Todd knows and the future of the gallery, as well as Todd’s future, may both be linked to Daniel.
I liked the style of this book as it opened with Todd as he is in college and working at an art gallery that is his second home. Todd is a little bit of a loner and a little too self-aware, but he reluctantly goes to a party with his best friend and there he meets Daniel. Todd feels completely out of his element, but when Daniel seeks him out, things are looking up. Then, a misunderstanding derails a friendship and their first date and even when Todd realizes that he may have been wrong, he doesn’t seek Daniel out to apologize. They see each other occasionally through friends, and it’s awkward for a while until it’s not and they forge ahead with some semblance of a friendship.
This book stalled out for me early on as nothing happens in this story. The majority of the book is Todd trying to get it together. He has a strained relationship with his brother that was not gone into in enough detail, he refuses to ask for help from anyone until he’s clearly in panic mode, and he doesn’t want to deal with anything really and hopes most of his issues will simply go away.
Todd and Daniel are in college and Daniel is applying to Harvard Law, but this book felt like YA as both Todd and Daniel sounded much younger than they are. We are also told about most things, rather than shown. Daniel is on the swim team and is stressed about practice and studying and law school. He also has a strained relationship with his father and we are just told about it but few details are ever given. Daniel also has difficulty hearing and uses sign language. Todd does not know sign language and while Daniel can read lips, he can’t always make out what Todd is saying and he spends many scenes saying, “Come again,” only for Todd to repeat again what he has just said. While it did illustrate Daniel’s issues, for a novel, the style in which it was done did not work out as well for me.
The book takes place in NY, with Daniel from the city and Todd from Brooklyn, and they could have been anywhere as there was nothing seen to connect them to the area. They are also said to both grown up there, yet neither one particularly sounded like it.
This book is more of a coming of age story for Todd and I would not consider this a romance as there is no romantic relationship between the guys until a quick glimpse at the very end of the book. Then, there are loose threads left open with the art gallery next door, as well as Daniel’s interest in a club he wanted to put together for the deaf community and those storylines were simply dropped.
For a portion of the book, I thought that this story just needed to find the right audience, but with too many issues left not addressed by the end and an incredibly slow pace from beginning to end, it’s a difficult one to recommend.