Title: Trust the Focus
Author: Megan Erickson
Pages/Word Count: 219 Pages
At a Glance: Justin and Landry together truly were perfection.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.
As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.
But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.
Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.
Review: Aren’t friends-to-lovers stories just the best? I swear they’re the best. I don’t know why I get so much satisfaction out of that connection, but I do. It just feels like such a pure, honest, true love. Not built on a hook-up or something…but a rich, full-of-history fondness. And Justin and Landry together truly were perfection.
Taking a road trip to spread his father’s ashes, Justin knows there is only one person in the world he wants to take this journey with, his best friend Landry. Despite some distance between them toward the end of college, Landry is still Justin’s person. So, the two of them set off in Justin’s father’s beloved motorhome, to basically recreate the pages of a calendar Justin’s dad made of all his favorite places. The premise of the book is wonderful, and the story was so fresh and well done. Not that road trip books are anything new, but Trust the Focus was different than any others I’ve come across.
Erickson’s writing is a joy to read. She definitely knows how to use words to paint a picture, and to draw out your emotions.
“Lan was smiling at me, the smile I liked, the big one that showed his crooked bottom-right incisor. The smile that brought out the deep creases around his mouth and wrinkled his forehead and made his dark-blue eyes glint.”
“Would he ever know how much I wanted to grab his words and rub them into my skin like a balm?”
“So I furrowed my brow and rolled my eyes appropriately, but meanwhile, his voice fuzzed my head like the first pint of a good, hoppy beer.”
And those quotes are all from the first chapter. The goodness goes on and on.
There is so much to love in this book. The title is perfect, and the continued usage throughout the story of the idea of ‘trusting your focus’ works so well. All of the author’s little touches: Dad’s notes in the margins of the atlases, all of the moments that show the shared history between the boys – a history that includes the love of Justin’s father—the cinnamon candies, Justin’s tattoo, etc.—all lend to the fabulous reading experience.
I loved the many lessons in the book as well. Be who you are. Be honest with those you love. Life is too short to live with regret, to point out just a few, and it was the regret that was eating Justin alive. The agreement they made toward the end, for ‘no if onlys’ was fantastic. I try to live by this same rule. Not a single one of us does everything right in life, and too much energy is wasted thinking or talking about what we “should have” done. If you could ask my family, they would tell you that I’m always saying, “’Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda will ruin your life.” 😉
Trust the Focus is Megan Erickson’s first published M/M book, but according to the book’s Acknowledgments, was written back in late 2013 and sounds like a true labor of love for her. We are so lucky she never stopped thinking about Justin and Landry, and that InterMix picked the book up for publication. The next book in the Focus series is coming in July, and I, for one, CANNOT WAIT. This is one I’ll be rereading many times I’m sure; these guys have stolen a piece of my heart. JusLan forever!
You can buy Trust the Focus here: