Matty knows he has a soulmate and knows he will bond with them one day, but that day was supposed to be well into the future, not when he was nine years old. It’s highly uncommon to find your bond mate so young and Matty has nothing in common with Ethan, and now due to that bond, they have to spend lots of time together. Ethan would rather read than play outside and he doesn’t know how to be friends with Matty, he only knows they have to spend time together or suffer from bond sickness.
Matty and Ethan’s lives are forever entwined and Matty even has to leave his home and his friends and follow Ethan to boarding school and then to college, forever living in the shadow of Ethan’s intelligence. Matty and Ethan have now known each other for years and live in each other’s heads, but they don’t really know each other. Resentment grows by the day, until the men realize they are better together than apart. Being closely bonded friends is one thing, but trying to reach for more is a whole other story.
This is one of those books where the concept was exactly what I wanted to read, but the execution didn’t play out as I would have liked. In this world, everyone knows that they have a soulmate and, at some point, you will find them. It can be uncomfortable, even painful at first when it happens and it’s almost unheard of to find your mate as a child. But that is what happens to Matty and Ethan.
The book is told from Matty’s POV as he has to spend time with Ethan or they will both suffer from bond sickness. The two boys wouldn’t have chosen to be friends, as they don’t have the same interests. Matty has to spend more time at Ethan’s house since that is what works better for Ethan and it’s referenced that Ethan’s family is wealthier and Matty resents everything. The parents organize play dates for the boys, but no one seems to really talk to these kids about how to navigate this bond. Matty resents having Ethan in his head, being in Ethan’s house, and especially resents when he has to follow Ethan to school, as they can’t be apart for any length of time.
For a shorter book, the guys spend most of it resenting each other. Since we don’t get Ethan’s POV, we don’t get to know him much at all. And, for being in each other’s heads for a decade and having intimate knowledge of each other’s thoughts, the guys don’t acknowledge how well they know each other and years of childhood resentment festers for most of the book.
The guys know that their parents are bonded, but because they are so young when it happens to them, they don’t meet anyone else even close to their age that is bonded during the entire book. It’s also not explained clearly how when Ethan gets accepted to top level schools Matty goes along as well as an accepted student only because they are bonded.
This is a shorter book and there was so much potential for that soul mate, bonded story, but these guys don’t even start to thaw to each to other until later into the book and then I had a more difficult time making that shift with them. The guys also say “like” over and over again in conversation and while like I get that the author was like trying to make them sound like age appropriate, it got like a little much to read through. The idea of this book was great to me, but these guys spent too much time not exploring that idea for the story to really win me over.