Spencer is a 28-year-old teacher and young single father of a 14-year-old boy, Connor (Spencer made a drunken mistake with a girl at their eighth grade dance). Spencer has some issues with his self esteem. He’s not had too many dates, because not many other men are interested in someone with a kid. Topping it off, Connor seems to be troubled and possibly bullied. A teacher friend recommends Spencer take Connor to the community center where they have a Big Brother program that might help Connor.
Tim is working at a bakery. It’s not like he really wants to be. He’s gone to college for four years for psychology, but he can’t get into a grad program because of a professor who blackballed him because Tim wouldn’t have sex with him. There’s also the fact his boyfriend, who he loved and he thought would spend his life with, broke up with him. Now, Tim feels like he’s out of his element in a city he’s not necessarily familiar with. One day, Tim decides to try to volunteer at the community center as a Big Brother.
As you can imagine, Tim is paired with Connor. There’s a misunderstanding between him and Spencer that almost ends Tim’s relationship with Connor before it even begins. However, as things progress, not only do Tim and Connor get along beautifully, but Spencer and Tim begin to develop a nice friendship…that turns into more. Not everything is smooth sailing, though, especially thanks to the kids who are bullying Connor. Will Spencer and Tim be able to get past these problems to make a family with Connor, or will their tentative love for one another be destroyed before they get the chance?
You guys, if you’ve been reading my reviews, you all know I love single dad stories. I grabbed The Family We Make as soon as I got the opportunity and I’m not sorry I did. It was an excellent choice.
I particularly liked the idea of Spencer, at only 28, having a 14-year-old son. That’s was an interesting plot point and not something you read very often. In fact, I’ve never read anything like that. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it really worked here. Speaking of an age gap, Tim is only 22 years old, and while it doesn’t seem like much, there is such a difference between 28 and 22, just in life experience. This also works in this story. I found myself completely caught up in Spencer and Tim. Connor too, but to a lesser extent. I rooted for them from the moment they met, even though the circumstances were less than ideal.
Another thing that really pushed my buttons is how Tim becomes so attached to Connor. It wasn’t just him taking the boy to the park to play catch; there were real emotions here, from both of them. I loved how, after Spencer and Tim begin their relationship, Tim tells Connor that he was there for him first, and he’ll always be on his side. I felt that to my core. The author wrote, not only this scene, but the entirety of Tim and Connor’s special relationship, beautifully.
No matter how great it is between Tim and Connor, the real draw here is Spencer and Tim. They have incredible chemistry and, on their own, they’re relatable and likable. I fell for both of them at the very beginning. They both tugged at my heart. Their fall from friendship to love was smooth and sweet. I smiled a lot when it came to them. Yes, there was some conflict, but it wasn’t angsty. They love each other, and they both love Connor. That’s the simple gist of The Family We Make. Together, Spencer, Tim, and Connor make a family. Maybe not a traditional one, but a powerful, loving one.
I don’t want to give any of the story away, but I’ll tell you there is a fantastic comeuppance for Connor’s bullies. That’s it. I loved it, and truthfully, I considered it a surprise…a wonderful surprise. (Well, not for the bullies. Hehe.) It completely cemented my love of this little family.
The ending was expected, but no less perfect. Everything pulled together, and I don’t mind telling you there is a lovely Happily Ever After. All in all, The Family We Make is a great book. I really enjoyed it, and I recommend it to everyone.