“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ― e.e. cummings
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: For Ryan Sanders, the Paige Community Center is more than a place where he teaches at-risk teens about musical theater. He found a sense of belonging there during one of the hardest times of his life. With the center facing a financial crisis, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the doors open—even soliciting fundraiser donations from Langley-Quartermaine Financial.
Adam Langley has a plan: survive an internship at his father’s company, finish college, get his trust fund, and find his former high school best friend Ryan and beg his forgiveness. In that order, because if Ryan does forgive him, Adam believes he’ll finally find the courage to come out to his wealthy, bigoted father.
Adam’s carefully considered plan is shattered when Ryan appears at the office a full ten months before Adam is ready, and Ryan is just as stunned. Against his better judgment, Adam gets involved with the fundraiser—and Ryan. Old feelings won’t be denied, and as Ryan and Adam reconnect, they realize neither knows the entire truth about the horrific night three years earlier that tore their friendship apart.
Review: Two best friends in high school, Ryan and Adam: One is openly gay and the other not ready to admit he’s gay quite yet. They were just beginning to find each other, when tragedy strikes and tears their friendship apart.
Three years later, Ryan is doing what he loves, he volunteers at a local community center, helping kids who have nowhere to go before or after school. Along with his best friend and roommate, Ellie, they are recruiting local businesses to sponsor the center’s theatric performance and to keep the center open. Neither of them know one of these visits will bring the past into the present.
Adam never forgot Ryan. He’s doing what his father wants him to do: go to school and intern at the family business. He’s got goals to reach before he can take his own life back. Among them, trying to win Ryan back. Never could he have imagined the plans he made are about to be fast forwarded.
We’ve all read books in which high school sweethearts lose sight of each other, only to reunite years later, finding out it was all a misunderstanding to begin with. This was kind of that but with a different spin. The author took what could have been the same old clichéd story with different names, and made it her own.
I loved that we have both Ryan and Adam’s POV through the entire story. When we first meet Adam, he wasn’t a very likable guy. He seemed standoffish and cold, but as the story switched to his perspective we get a much clearer picture of the emotions he had swirling around his head. It really changed how I felt about him, now knowing he was as much a victim as Ryan was. I loved Ryan from the start. He was very sweet and caring. He never really understood what happened to his friendship with Adam after that fateful night. The hurt and humiliation he’s had to deal with since then is devastating.
I’m a big fan a flashbacks in a story. I love to try and figure out what could have happened instead of being told right off. I think the author did an amazing job in giving the reader little tidbits of what happened to Ryan and Adam that night their world was shattered. I won’t give it away here, as I think it will definitely ruin it for those who haven’t read it yet. It’s heartbreaking to say the least.
As we get deeper into the story, Adam really tries to make Ryan see that he still loves him and never meant to break his heart. Their relationship progressed realistically. I felt the author did this couple justice by showing them both taking it slow, getting to know one another again and not just picking up where they left off, like nothing ever happened. We see them still both healing over the past, getting over the hurt that was caused. I appreciated that in this story.
Towards the end, we see so much positive progression with Ryan and Adam, as human beings and as a couple. Some characters show little signs of hope that they’ll change for the better, and best friends are always there in the end, no matter what.
Overall, this was a great story of second chances, love and hope. Highly recommended.