Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Ellis met Lucky when they were both 10 years old. Lucky’s family moved from Chicago to a small Nebraska town, into the house nearest the farm Ellis’ father had recently abandoned. Ellis, who is neurodivergent and selectively mute, was instantly enamored with Lucky’s exuberant chatter and lightness of being; they were immediate friends.

Over the years, Ellis and Lucky have been the most important people in each other’s lives. Ellis grew up huge and strong, and Lucky is beautiful, out, and proud. Ellis stood up against the boys who bullied Lucky for being gay, and even took him to prom so he wouldn’t miss out. Lucky planned to leave Nebraska as soon as he could to become a photojournalist. He wanted Ellis to join him, but Ellis elected to stay home and work, to help his mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Ellis knew that he could never contain Lucky, like he knew putting a firefly in a jar would stifle it to death. So, Ellis pushed Lucky to follow his dreams, content to keep in touch through emails, visits, and calls, where Lucky spills all his exploits and stories from wherever in the world he is. Ellis loves Lucky deeply and misses him immensely. He writes Lucky confessional emails he never intends to send, but keeps his home fires burning for his dearest friend.

Lucky has loved Ellis his whole life. He’s satisfied professionally, and has a good travel partner who also sates his sexual needs. Ellis is his emotional partner in life, however, and Lucky’s afraid to let Ellis know how deeply he cares because he doesn’t believe Ellis will reciprocate and worries their friendship will be damaged. His growing sadness over not having Ellis as a full partner causes Lucky to avoid returning to Nebraska, though he continues to call Ellis and write to him.

Though now twenty-five, Ellis has never had a partner, and only ever kissed Lucky, once, to console him. But it seems like Ellis may have found a woman to date, and it sparks a jealousy that Lucky can’t cope with–not without reconnecting with his Ellis. A brief visit home causes more chaos for both men, but reveals there is a deep love that Ellis has been hiding from Lucky–yet sharing in a beautifully creative way. Lucky is worried he has lost his chance with Ellis, but he needs to realize that Ellis’ heart beats only for Lucky.

This is an epic friends-to-lovers story that spans fifteen years and is hauntingly tender. The sweetness that Ellis brings, with his steadfast love for Lucky, is really awe inspiring. (It brought me back to Ox and Joe of Wolfsong, without the paranormal parts.) Ellis and Ox seemed like kindred spirits, both on the spectrum, and having such deep love for their families and home. As a contemporary romance, I felt transported to a small farming town, where people know your business and have IDEAS about how life should be. Ellis tells the bulk of the story, so I felt very connected to him, and his devotion to Lucky was absolutely palpable. I could see myself in Ellis’ silo, toiling over his crafts, and awaiting Lucky’s next photo-laden email. I was in agony awaiting Ellis potentially sharing his draft emails to convince Lucky how long he’d loved him. It was so bittersweet, and then completely engaging and thoroughly delicious. The epic pining! The grand gestures! The tornadoes! The big reveal and how Lucky and Ellis finally connect as loving partners instead of just loving friends. Gah!

I found it difficult to set this book down. I wanted so hard for this to all work out, and was kept waiting just long enough to make me (nearly) crazy. I definitely recommend this story and would read another three books about Ellis and Lucky, and still want more, I think.