Title: Everything Changes
Author: Melanie Hansen
Narrator: Robert Nieman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 7 hours and 12 minutes
At a Glance: This is my first book by Melanie Hansen, but it certainly won’t be the last. I really like her writing style!
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: What happens when friendship catches fire?
Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.
Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.
A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.
Review: Jase and Carey were comrades in arms: Carey, a Marine who lose his leg in Afghanistan, and Jase, the EMT who saved his life. Back stateside, they have both moved on with their lives. Carey is working in Colorado at an organization that provides counseling and support for other veterans. Jase is an EMT while pursuing his dream of music as the lead singer for his band in LA. Carey has a week’s vacation and he’s looking forward to seeing the guy who has become his best friend.
Throughout the story, we get glimpses of the past that brought Jase and Carey together, and how their friendship has changed over the years. Jase has long had feelings for Carey, but he’s also convinced that Carey is completely straight and will never be able to return his feelings, so he’s made the best of it and supports Carey in any way he can as a friend. But when Carey visits and sees Jase with another guy, feelings surface that blindside him. Why should he care who Jase gets off with? This is his friend and he has known for years that Jase is into guys. Why, then, does he find himself getting what feels a lot like jealous?
When they witness tragedy, it turns out that Jase is dealing with a lot of stuff from the past that Carey never recognized before. But this is an area that maybe Carey can help Jase with, and he does still owe him a lot for all he put up with during Carey’s recovery. He doesn’t expect to find himself wanting more with Jase, though, and he freaks himself out a bit. What would it mean for him to actually pursue a relationship with his best friend…who happens to be a man?
This is my first book by Melanie Hansen, but it certainly won’t be the last. I really liked her style of writing; the characters and the dialogue seem very real and authentic. Robert Nieman’s narration really added to the story. I’ve listened to a few of his audios by now (particularly his R. Cooper titles), and I have so far appreciated all of his choices for the character voices, including Jase and Carey in this one. Jase and Carey both have struggles, and it was a great twist to portray them not as competing difficulties but rather as complementary. I enjoyed the secondary characters, who seemed more three-dimensional than those found in many books. Both male and female characters seemed like people I could know rather than just stereotypes. I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series.
You can buy Everything Changes here: