*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
Love is never easy to find or to keep especially with the hormone and cliche induced drama typical within the walls of a small town high school. For seniors Holden Rogers and Aaron Stevens, it’s not just high school drama that stands in the way of love and happiness.
Holden struggles in the shadow of his older brother’s success by a father who berates and demeans and a mother who stands back and does nothing while neither one can see the man their son has become or the dreams of the successful man he wants to be. Aaron is expected to take over the auto shop his family has run for generations whether he wants it or not.
When word gets out the two have been seen together, racial and homophobic microaggressions that have been brewing in shadow breach the surface of this small town atmosphere. When big money talks, morality walks, and strong family ties that will break or bind, will this made for each other couple overcome the mounting obstacles or crumble beneath their weight as hard choices and sacrifices must be made?
Eli Summers is a new author for me, so although it’s not the author’s debut work, it’s my debut of Eli Summers.
I really was into the book from page one and I was delighted by Aaron. He’s such a charming, sweet character and it’s no wonder Holden feels attracted to him – although he denies it first and – like his father was praying it – is in denial accepting he’s bisexual. He internalized his father’s beliefs, his homophobic view and fears the outcome when he opens up.
The book is pretty full of drama, which I like but made my on the other hand furious, because I was so angry about some characters – I have to say, kudos to the authors to get me so emotionally involved I sat there, shaking furiously after I read the book. 😀
My heart broke when Holden was confronted with the homophobic as well as racist attitude of his family members, mostly his father, his classmates and even later his best friend. I have to point out, without spoiling anything, that I truly dispise Tiffany and her behaviour, though I saw the author has planned a story, called Baby Blues, about her, so I’m intrigued what Eli Summer delivers there. 🙂
This book isn’t in some parts an easy read. It has (as the CW/TW already say) homphobic slurs and actions, racism, violence and attempted sexual assault by an authoritive, adult person. It shows the ugly behaviour of people you trust, betrail and heartbreak. (As another CW/TW I point out pregnancy of one side character)
On the other hand it shows the lightness of being in love for the first time, having the first relationship and how feelings bloom and blossom. These parts are the silver linings in the book, although it ends with a sort of bittersweet HFN.
As I said I was emotionally attached and some of the character’s behaviour left me speechless and furious, other parts, those light scenes with Aaron and Holden, were sweet and light and full of love and gentle feelings.
All in all I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 🙂