Title: Doubts (Drop Dead: Book Two)
Author: Peter Styles
Length: 158 Pages
At a Glance: Peter Styles’ writing is fresh and fast paced, and the reading of these books has been such a treat.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Geo feels like things are finally going his way. He’s in a great relationship with the love of his life, and he’s just as happy as ever being best friends with his twin brother. Slowly, though, things start to change; his boyfriend messages him less and less, his brother fights with him more and more, and now he has to deal with the fact that a very handsome stranger has just come into his life. Is it even worth figuring out these mysteries, or are the people he cared about most better off dead to him?
Review: Well. That didn’t last long.
You don’t have to be a genius to extrapolate that all’s not well in love and podcasting in Peter Styles’ Doubts, the continuing saga of Geo and Lex’s long-distance romance. I mean, it’s right there in the title, innit? And phew, is this one angsty.
The author says this book can be read as a standalone, and it can, technically. Far be it from me to contradict him. But now I’m going to contradict him. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this as a standalone read if you’re the sort who wants to get to know your characters from the beginning and have the chance to watch them build their relationship in real time. Some of the juicy bits about how Geo and Lex get together in True Crime are recapped well enough here, but if enough isn’t good enough, then don’t start here. Plus, True Crime is great, so why not start there instead?
With thousands of miles of landscape between Michigan and Texas, it doesn’t take long before the geographical distance begins to wear on Geo and Lex, but it’s the emotional distance that proves to be far more damaging to their relationship. Work, life, things… Everyday and, as it turns out, some not so everyday stuff keeps happening to reinforce that divide, and it’s not long before Lex’s growing radio silence begins to wreak havoc on a psyche that Geo’s parents have already screwed up with their manipulation and emotional abuse. In other words, when you get to the point where you start contemplating the difference between being alone and being lonely, how far off are you really from a half-gallon of Häagen-Dazs and a mix tape of break up songs set on repeat? Or, maybe even starting to feel the pangs of temptation to get with someone who’s hot and also happens to be handy. If you can’t be with the one you love… But, for reasons, that turns out not to be one of Geo’s better ideas.
Which segues, oddly, to my deep and abiding love of Geo and his twin brother, Mark. Their banter is still spot on and just so brotherly and, at times, is downright hysterical. Not to mention there’s quite the new development for Mark in Doubts, which caused some friction between him and Geo. But, not to worry; it isn’t the death knell of their friendship. They’re still each the best family they have, and I really do love everything about them. Peter Styles has done a fantastic job of translating their relationship into something sweet and realistic, and that also creates an emotional connection between them and readers.
The feels are not insubstantial in Doubts. There’s a lot of questioning and second guessing in this installment of the series, actions speaking louder than words, words that need saying but aren’t being spoken. The lack of communication and trust is a huge factor for Geo and Lex, and it all plays out in an unfortunate and rather heart-tugging way. And I must say that even though this book is the very definition of angsty, I loved that there’s also such a healthy dose of realistic issues within the unhealthiness of it all—things that have plagued love-struck couples for eons. Both Geo’s and Lex’s lack of experience with anything resembling a stable relationship keeps their drama from feeling overly gratuitous. Learning to trust and believing that it’s okay to let the person who loves you help carry a little bit of your burden doesn’t come easy. The way they deal with their issues, though… Secrets and evasions and then Geo’s rather epically douchetastic move that was one of those “hm, if only I’d thought through the consequences of my actions” sort of things. These guys are layers and layers of flawed, but they work so well together.
Peter Styles tells a well-crafted story and uses dialogue to great advantage. There’s nothing I love more than good conversation in a book, even if it serves no other purpose than to show how connected and comfortable the characters are with each other. His writing is fresh and fast paced, and the reading of these books has been such a treat. I’m off to Decisions with my mental fingers firmly crossed that it isn’t the final book in the Drop Dead series.
You can buy Doubts here: