Author: John Goode
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 230 Pages
At a Glance: I think anyone would be hard pressed not to enjoy this latest Foster High installment.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Sequel to Taking Chances
No matter how fast you run, the past has a way of catching up with you.
When an accident ruins Matt’s parents’ anniversary party, Tyler and Matt decide a vacation is in order, and they book a gay Disney cruise with Robbie and Sebastian. It’ll be the perfect place to relax and do some much-needed soul-searching.
A couple of years have passed since they met, but Tyler and Matt are no closer to getting married. They must take a long, hard look at their relationship and decide if they’re happy with the way things are, or if they want more—and if they can find the courage to take the next step. A difficult choice is made even harder when two people they thought they’d left behind show up to complicate the issue and turn the whole cruise upside down.
Review: John Goode’s Foster High series is like crack for me. I will heartily admit that I nearly embarrassed myself falling over the opportunity to review his latest novel, What About Everything?, book nine in the series, and rightfully so because this author’s mix of emotion, humor, and living, breathing characters I believe makes for the best novels out there today. I will admit that perhaps Mr. Goode’s brand of snarky repartee is not for everyone, but that is merely one vehicle he employs to bring home the delicate messages he so often buries in his stories. While hilarity ensues, wrapped inside that witty banter is a hard earned kernel of truth—in this case, that everyone deserves to be loved despite the fact that we so often find ourselves far less than loveable.
Relationships often face crossroads after the honeymoon phase of glorious sex and twitterpated lust wears off. Such is the case for the physically perfect couple, Matt and Tyler, who are as mismatched a pairing as one could possibly find. Matt is ready to move forward, he is tired of living half out of his folks’ house, and the other out of Tyler’s. He wants, no needs, the stability of a partnership that has a future complete with a plan for how and when they will arrive at the final stage—marriage. Tyler is, well, Tyler, and if you recall anything about this man, you are already shaking your head at the idea of him committing to anything. He struggles with something as simple as what his next meal will be, so it’s a sure bet he is ill-equipped to figure out his future with Matt. He loves Matt, of that, he is sure, but he is hampered, drowning in his past mistakes and certain that he will manage to screw up any good thing that comes his way because in Tyler’s mind, he simply does not deserve to be happy—not when he has failed others in his past, repeatedly.
So when Tyler tries to make it up to Matt for being so reluctant to take a stand on just about anything relationship-wise, and makes a huge mistake at the vow renewal ceremony for Matt’s parents, desperate measures are called for, pronto. Turning to friends Robbie and Sebastian (comedy gold), a Disney cruise is lined up for the foursome and all seems to be a go until an old “friend” shows up and Tyler retreats when he should not, leaving Matt questioning whether they have any future at all.
I laughed until I cried–that is a given in a John Goode novel. What should be so simple—loving another–is so fraught with pitfalls, and these men leap in every time. It’s not just miscommunication that has Tyler and Matt on the brink of a break-up; it’s the fact that Tyler cannot seem to allow for the idea that his past should not define him. When we cannot forgive ourselves, Mr. Goode tells us, we can hardly expect to embrace happiness in any form when it’s offered. Forgiveness must start at home, and Tyler learns this the hard way. Matt is the most patient man ever written, but even he has his limits and every one of them is pushed in this novel. Through flawless humor, incredible moments of intimacy and support from the craziest yet most loyal friends ever, Matt and Tyler begin to realize that a relationship takes work and in order for it to stay afloat, one must recognize the life rafts floating alongside and grab hold of them.
I cannot say enough about this story. I love this series and perhaps that blinds me to any minor flaws that could be found in this author’s writing. However, I think anyone would be hard pressed not to enjoy this latest Foster High installment. Author John Goode creates real people who don’t always get it right—they work hard for every scrap of happiness they achieve, and that is what makes his novels so spectacular—for he allows the reader a chance to cheer on the underdogs he so often writes about, and, in doing so, he shows us just a little bit of ourselves through their story. In the end, he assures us we are okay—and we deserve love—each and every one of us.
You can buy What About Everything? here: