Rating: 2.75 stars
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Hollister Bay is in love with his best friend, Dane Fisher. He is sure that Dane does not feel the same way and Hollister is scared of losing his friend, so he keeps quiet. Hollister also has a lot to deal with. His mother has terminal cancer and he has no other family. Dane is there when Hollister is at his lowest and Hollister needs Dane in his life. But just when Hollister thinks he might really have a chance with Dane, he winds up losing Dane anyway and the guys go years without seeing each other.
However, when they meet again, the heat between them is still there, the years of friendship bond them, and Hollister and Dane may be given a second chance to get it right.
This book is heavy when it opens as Hollister is severely depressed and acting upon it. Dane is his best friend and tries to pull him out of the darkness. We are able to see some of their friendship and the start of something more between the men before another tragedy is upon them. The opening was fine, but then most of what happened after the men are reunited didn’t agree with me.
Hollister and Dane are estranged for five years after two traumatic, life altering events. They rekindle their friendship, have a physical relationship, and agree to be boyfriends without discussing one word of their past. Hollister did lightly try and bring it up, but each time Dane would tell him it was fine. It wasn’t. It’s one thing not to hold a grudge, but these guys really needed to have a conversation before fully emerging themselves in a relationship.
The guys are in high school when the book opens. I kept having to remind myself all along how old they were as they did not come across as teenagers and then later their early 20s. Some of the dialogue didn’t agree with me either, as when Hollister was having mental health issues the word “crazy” was used often. Hollister also had a friend who was the same age who called him “boy” all the time.
Hollister was living with an older woman he referred to as “Gran” that became his family and that storyline was predictable and seen before. After a rough time that we are told about briefly, Hollister lands on his feet and carries on with life. When he reconnects with Dane, everything all falls into place, from jobs, to money, to how convenient their lives were able to be. We are told early on about Hollister’s abusive father, who he hasn’t seen in years, and that storyline continued to add on to the narrative, but it was overly shallow and felt wedged into the story by the end.
I always like stories where best friends progress their relationship and Hollister and Dane did seem to have real feelings for each other. The rest of their story was not to my taste.