Title: Bowl Full of Cherries
Author: Raine O’Tierney
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: Porker, Fatty, Tons-of-Fun: Crowley Fredericks has heard it all. He’s dropped a lot of weight since his high school days, but he’s still a big guy, and the painful words and bullying follow him. Rejected—again—because of his size, Crowley is starting to think that maybe love just isn’t meant for huskier men.
Averell Lang and his twin are so different they might as well not even be related. So when Rell’s brother brings his roommate home to snowy Susset for the holidays, Rell expects the worst—another uptight, pretentious hipster. What he discovers instead is Crowley. Nerdy, fascinating, attractive, Crowley. Rell never expected to look at a man this way, and what he sees in Crowley Fredericks is something he didn’t even know he was looking for. If both men can overcome their hang-ups, they might unwrap more than presents this holiday season.
Review: Have you ever felt that no matter who you are or what you do, that you’ll never quite be enough?
In this story we meet Crowley Fredericks, a very sweet, slightly shy, adorkably wonderful young man. Crowley is a classically trained violinist attending a conservatory with a dream that doesn’t really fit his reality. Crowley also doesn’t fit in his own skin very well. He’s been bullied by someone he thought was interested in him but used him for a cruel joke which he posted on social media, all because Crowley isn’t the ‘perfect’ body type. While time has passed since this happened, it broke Crowley’s self-esteem to the point he has panic attacks when he thinks someone is going to make fun of him for his weight. He’s so over conscious of it now that he barely eats, and makes disparaging remarks about himself. He still has a heart of gold, and loves his family and his friends fiercely, even if he is a little socially awkward.
Since he’s away at college, he’s getting ready to head back home to visit when his mother texts him to not bother coming home, that no one will be picking him up. I wanted to reach through my Kindle and smack his mom for doing that to him. While I got she’s not dealing with him coming out of the closet well, to do that to him while he’s at the airport getting ready to fly out was just evil. Crowley’s roommate, Tyler, decides to drag him to visit his family for the holidays. Because it’s so late, Crowley ends up taking a different train than Tyler and will end up meeting Tyler’s family by himself.
Averell Lang is Tyler’s twin brother, and he is the complete opposite of his twin. Tyler is a hipster, socially conscious, has his life planned out kind of person. While Rell loathes anything hipster, is a bit of a gaming nerd, and hasn’t found what his life plan will be just yet. Rell is elected to pick Crowley up at the train station, and he expects him to be just like Tyler, but he is completely surprised by who he meets. The story carries on from there over the holidays, with Rell and Crowley getting to really know each other. Both young men, deep down are very similar to each other. While Rell doesn’t have the body issues Crowley has, he’s been knocked down repeatedly by his own brother for not being the same person Tyler is and not having a life plan, etc.
The connection between Rell and Crowley, Owl as Rell calls him, is pretty instantaneous. However, it’s more of a ‘this person GETS me’ connection versus a physical attraction between them. Both Rell and Owl find it very easy to talk to the other, they have many things in common, and both at the heart are dreamers who see things differently. For those who are like this in real life, you know how hard finding someone that just gets who you are is, and once you meet those people, you tend to grab on with both hands. The relationship for Rell and Owl that develops out of their friendship happens quickly, but it doesn’t feel rushed or out of place, and it works well in this story.
This was a sweet story, overall, and I really connected with both main characters in so many ways. The secondary characters were just that, secondary, other than Tyler who kind of pushed himself forward a few times. I thought the way the author dealt with both Owl’s self esteem, and Rell’s desire to be better for Owl, was handled very well. Rell became what he needed to be in order to be what Owl needed in his life. I would definitely love to see more of these two again; they were just that adorable together.
I recommend this for anyone looking for a bit deeper yet still sweet holiday read, and for those that look at life just a little bit differently.
You can buy Bowl Full of Cherries here: