“If you had a time machine, would you go back and avoid getting together with Caesar? It would spare you the heartache you feel now, but think of everything else you would have missed out on. Would you take it all back?”
“I wouldn’t take back any of mine either. Love is worth the pain.”–Jay Bell
Author: Jay Bell
Publisher: Jay Bell Books
Pages/Word Count: 458 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Nothing in this world is permanent. Friends, lovers, even family, can all disappear in the blink of an eye. Without these anchors, it’s all too easy to find oneself drifting.
Jason Grant doesn’t have much, aside from a beat-up old guitar and knack for getting kicked out of foster homes. His latest placement is set to be just another in a long line of failures. Then he meets Caesar Hubbard, a handsome guy who lives down the hall. For the first time in his life, Jason wants to stay, which means learning to be part of a family, and not letting his feelings—or his actions—ruin his first real chance of falling in love.
Something Like Spring introduces a new character to the Seasons story, one with a troubled past and an equally turbulent future. Jason must traverse a winding road fraught with emotional conflicts and tough decisions… a road that might just lead to a certain couple in Austin.
Review: One thousand-four hundred-fifty-four. I keep trying to make that number fit into the melody from the song from Rent that always gets stuck in my head, but it won’t work. That is the number of pages to which Jay Bell committed the story of Tim Wyman and Ben Bentley. The books are named for the four seasons of the year, but the period of time spanned by the four books is actually closer to two decades. And those pages, they’re not enough. I feel bereft. I will be thinking about Tim and Ben for way too long. It’s been two days since I finished reading Something Like Spring, and I still can’t start another book because Tim and Ben won’t leave me alone!
Jay Bell shows us Ben and Tim’s lives from every conceivable point-of-view and at many stages of their lives, but as an avid reader of his work, I know there are more moments that he missed. I want them all. And I want all the moments of the lives of all the other characters Jay Bell created to surround Ben and Tim. Victor, Ryan, Caesar, Nathaniel, Kelly, Emma and so many more completely evolved characters. I am a greedy reader. I got so completely immersed in the amazing universe where Tim and Ben live that I lost hours of my life to them. And somehow, it could never be enough.
I have survived Ben and Tim’s story from their meeting in Summer through the end of our voyeuristic voyage (but not necessarily their relationship) in Spring. Not only have I survived, I thrived, stayed up too late, got up too early, ordered pizza for dinner too many times to count. I laughed, I cried, I felt the tickle of new love or professions of love in my tummy, I clutched my Kindle tighter as I waited for one character or another to make the right (in my opinion) choice. Mr. Bell has a fabulous sense of humor which he deftly uses to balance the sadness and tragedy that are a part of any realistic story.
The sheer multitude of characters contained in those pages is mind-blowing. I picture a crime procedural television show, where they have all the white boards lined up with the facts of the case laid out. In order to keep track of all his characters and the many ways in which they intersect, Jay Bell would need a warehouse full of white boards. And every single character is as engaging as the last. Even the ones you hate, you want to read because they get in your head and won’t leave you alone. Somehow, as only a writer of great characters can do, Jay Bell leaves you wanting only good for the “bad guys”. You are able to recognize that they aren’t bad people, just flawed human beings looking for the same thing everyone else is. They just go about finding it in the wrong way sometimes.
In Something Like Spring, we meet Jason Grant for the first time. Jason is a victim of the American foster care system. He has been in twenty-three foster homes by the age of fifteen, accompanied only by the beat up guitar his mother gave to him when he was little. The home in which we find him being placed is one where the foster parents most often adopt their foster children. All Jason has to do is follow the rules and keep his head down, and he will have a permanent home and a family to pay for his college education. Enter Caesar Hubbard.
Caesar is the only genetic child of the family with whom Jason has been placed, and his room is temptingly right down the hall from Jason’s. How is he supposed to follow the rules and keep his head down when all he wants to do is sneak into Caesar’s room at night and explore his budding homosexuality? Things are too often not what they appear to be and Jason, in his desperate need to find someone to love and who will love him back just as deeply, believes only the best of what he sees.
Not much is given away in the blurb, so I won’t disclose much of the story. Mr. Bell doesn’t give up much ahead of time. You need to read it for yourself anyway. It will blow you away. I can tell you that Jason’s caseworker is able, once Jason is on his own and struggling to survive, to introduce him to a couple she knows in Austin who are happy to take him in and treat him like family. This is the beginning of a period of happiness unlike Jason has ever known.
I have a wicked headache today. When I cry, I get a sinus headache, and I cried ugly last night when reading the end of Something Like Spring. Today I blame Jay for my abuse of over-the-counter pain medications and any potential damage to my liver caused by said abuse. I won’t hold it against him, though, because if he somehow managed to find a heretofore undiscovered fifth season and wrote a book about it, I would savor every word. I have learned that among the tears is so much beauty and love and joy and family that it is all worth it. To quote Jay Bell, “Love is worth the pain.”
And I do love Something Like Spring. I also loved Something Like Summer, Something Like Winter and Something Like Autumn. I am so thankful to the friend who read Summer in a challenge on Goodreads and said those fateful words we have all used: “You have to read this book. It was so good.” She was so right. And now I say to you, “You have to read this book. It is so good!”
Reviewer’s note: Begin reading any Jay Bell Publication early in the day. Best to start on a Saturday morning because unless you have will power of steel, you will literally not be able to stop reading until the book is done.