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4.5 out of 5
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    Riley does it again!

    OK this one I cried. Its a much more emotional story this time around but still awesome in truly Riley fashion. Enjoy :)
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    Five-star fun but one-star story structure.

    There are aspects of this book that are 5-star: It is a sexy, fun, light, good read. I read it quickly and enjoyed the ride. Alas, there are a couple of issues with the writing that sabotage the 5 stars. What I liked: The day-to-day lives of the protagonists; the fact that the book doesn't take place in a big city; the sex dynamics; the fact that no one was closeted beyond simply wanting to keep a budding relationship private until they were ready to go public. Where I struggled: This writer SERIOUSLY needs to hire a copy editor for this book. Simple example: A poor use of the pronoun "he". The author flat-out can't "hear" where she confuses whether "he" is the subject or the object. In a book where the two MCs are men, it gets frustrating trying to figure out who's talking or who is being talked about. So, you might get a sentence that reads (I'm making this up, including the names), "Joe loved Bob. He didn't know whether he loved Joe in return." Confusing. The first "he" refers to Joe, GRAMMATICALLY, but the way it's written, it's referencing BOB. The author does this ALL BOOK LONG. Yes, she switches points of view at the beginning of sections, but for the reader to figure out, several paragraphs in, that because this is "Bob's" section, the "he" refers to Bob is untenable. Grammar applies to every word, clause, sentence, and paragraph, not "sections". An editor would have changed it to: "Joe loved Bob. BOB didn't know whether he loved Joe in return." The DRAG of getting through the way the author approached basic grammar ruined how page-turner and fun the book could've been. The other thing a copy editor would have caught were "writing tics". So, we kept hearing, "He liked the man." And, "It was about the man." And, "He loved the man." That constant use of "the man" was annoying. There were a few things like this. An editor would have caught that. Another thing an editor would have caught was how repetitive the book was. Six or seven times we hear that Drew and his brother Jacob weren't close, that Drew's family saw him differently. But since none of it fed much conflict, it was unnecessary to hear it, especially several times. Drew and Justin, the main characters, get caught in a rut of dating/I'm leaving the state/dating/I'm leaving the state. It was a weak conflict. People move to another city for a love interest all the time. It wasn't a real conflict. You moved somewhere temporarily. You have blood relatives there. You fell in love. Not huge. [PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS.] An editor could have also fixed some of the inconsistencies. For example, we learn that the father taught the older brother to ride a motorcycle, but...later Justin has to share stories of their father that the older two siblings missed because the father wasn't there for them during their childhood. Which is it? If he was around to teach Landon to ride a motorcycle, then he wasn't absent. The author is very inconsistent about the ages, the father's presence/absence, etc. Meanwhile, Justin's father is dying, yet not once does his phone ring with a friend in North Carolina on the other end saying, "Hey, man, sorry about your dad." Not ONE friend called him to see how he was coping? Yet, we're told throughout the book that Justin has such critical ties to North Carolina, he must go back (and not just for his mother). Further, some of the dialogue was designed to "impart information" instead of driving story forward. Characters said things to each other that people wouldn't say but that the author needed the reader to know. It came off as stilted and phony. Some of the character motivation was unclear. The romance between Justin and Drew was shallow, and just when it got romantic, they winked and cussed and drank and laughed. Very little emotional through-line. Their professions of love were not in big moments. They were over the phone. Seriously? I'm waiting for these two to fall in love, and the first time one of them says it to the other it's over the phone? Finally, the author needed to cut loose and add conflict to the story. Too often, we got phrases that were designed to be sure we liked the characters and didn't hold anything against them, but there's no depth or conflict in that. Too many times, the narration added some "infomercial"-type information about someone that kept us from being irritated with them, but it was also far too vanilla. And, it was delivered in a way that was artificial, with dialogue that people wouldn't actually speak but that helped make someone sound nicer. Let Drew and Jacob really have it out. Make Justin's mom deeply offended that he left. Let ONE of the kids truly reject the absent father. Let Drew refuse to be with Justin if he can't commit. Let Drew's gym catch fire or his truck run off the road or an old girlfriend show up so that he's now emotionally unavailable to Justin. Let Landon and Shanen's mom full-on hate Justin. Conflict! STILL: This was an overall enjoyable read. Good book.
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