Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars
Narrator: John Solo
Length: 5 hours, 23 minutes
Aaron McCoy wasn’t always happy with his life. Born to a drug-addict mother, he helped care for his younger half-brother, Zach, for years before Child Protective Services sent them to foster care. As surly teen, Aaron was troubled with this upheaval and didn’t cope well, and was sent to a group home months after their joint placement. Five years after that he left his hometown of Leavenworth, Kansas in the rearview as he traveled to eastern Tennessee to his own adoptive family. There he met Tyler, the youngest child in his adoptive family. Now they are grown and are close friends, but it seems that Tyler might want more. Aaron’s afraid to fall for Tyler, who he dearly loves, because he’s unwilling to lose the only true family he feels he has.
Aaron hasn’t seen Zach in more than 12 years, but Tyler accepts Zach’s wedding invite on Aaron’s behalf when Aaron’s put on a mandatory vacation by his boss. She’s afraid her best social worker will get burned out if he doesn’t take a break. Tyler arranges to drive from Tennessee to Kansas with Aaron for a frolicking road trip, and it’s just what Aaron needs. He’s nervous to meet Zach again, this young man who’s a stranger compared to the seven-year-old brother he remembers. The wedding festivities are a series of touchstone moments of Aaron coming to terms with his lost family, interspersed with some shenanigans that lighten the mood. I also read this one in book form, so you can check out my more detailed review here.
John Solo, the narrator, does a good job of keeping the pace rolling and the tone playful. Tyler is a great foil to anxious, broody Aaron, and the slight twang to the narrator’s voice really brought out the southern-boy charm. Having read this in book form, I enjoyed the audio even more, feeling it complimented the original work. Catching the innate vulnerability for both Aaron and Tyler, as well as the growing tenderness between them, was truly enjoyable in the audio format. Likewise, the audio really captured the fraught tension I had expected from all those reconnection moments for Aaron and his family.
Tyler and Aaron do get together romantically, and it was both healing and hopeful for them in the end. There are not a lot of sexytimes, but the narrator gave them a fond and fun vibe that suited these long-time friends falling into love.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.