Sam has just aged out of the foster care system and is on his own. His only family is Tommy, the younger boy who has been like a brother to him, but Sam’s social worker finds him a job hours away from Tommy. Tommy has special needs and Sam’s one goal now is to earn enough money for a train ticket back to visit him. But working at the factory doesn’t pay much and Sam’s days are consumed by work, trying to stay warm, and fending off the loneliness that could swallow him whole if he lets it.
The one bright spot to his day is Evra, a co-worker, but Sam is quiet and shy and has no idea what to say to the boy that has suddenly invaded his every thought. Evra is a mystery and has had an incredibly hard life. He currently lives at a residential center and keeps that to himself. The only one that knows anything about him is Maverick, who has known Evra for years, but their family-style relationship is fraught with history and tension. Sam is the brightest thing Evra has ever seen and makes him want something for the first time.
Sam has plans to return to the town by the sea where Tommy is, but his heart is now divided. Evra never wants to be without Sam, but he cannot leave without consequences. Finding love, a new-found family, and a place to call home may be exactly what all of them need.
Suki Fleet has a truly special style and if you have read any of her books, you will know exactly what I speak of. This book is told in first person and immediately I was drawn into Sam and Evra’s lives. Fleet’s books often (always) have an underlying sadness to them and her characters struggle with the greatest of effort. This book has an incredible atmosphere, the cold the characters experience will chill your bones, and that is all created from the first page. While there is sadness and an underlying anxiety, this book doesn’t drag the characters down quite as far as others have.
Sam is barely making it after aging out of foster care. He wanted to stay near the sea to be near his brother by choice, Tommy, but was given a job hours away. Sam didn’t have any experience being totally on his own and managing a job and having little money in a hostile environment is more than a little challenging. He becomes a target at this job at the factory and has no support to turn to. Evra makes things bearable, a tiny bright spot in an otherwise bleak existence, and makes things look good for a moment, but Sam is painfully shy and has no idea what to say to Evra and is scared to open himself up.
Evra is a mystery that is best left to unravel on your own as his circumstances come together at a pace throughout the book. His living situation is a red flag from the start, but Evra is also young and vulnerable and determined to do the right thing, except the system is failing him.
The side characters round out the story and add extra tension to an already tense narrative. There is a possible setup for a story for two of these characters and while Fleet would certainly have to work to redeem one of them, I would read that straight away.
It was truly wonderful to be given a new Suki Fleet story. Fleet has a visceral way of showing hardship, while making you feel like a participant instead of an observer. While For Sam, times infinity does have an underlying sadness, the tone still has a soft style and is also filled with hope as Sam and Evra grow to learn that their past can be part of them, but doesn’t have to be all of them. Sam and Evra fall into a great love story despite the turbulence around them and, although they are young, they know they will be forever together.