The short blurb bit: Noah Andrews is an anxious, book lover with a secret. It’s a secret he wants to be able to tell his friends and his family but it’s an uphill battle. Noah is gay. It shouldn’t feel like the bottom of his world will be yanked out from under him if he reveals that he’s gay … but that’s exactly what he’s afraid of. After months of torturing himself, Noah comes out to his best friends. And things are fine. Sure, there are a few idiots at school he has to put up with but Noah is lucky.
On the night he comes out, he receives a secret message from an admirer. There’s another guy out there in the school who is gay … and who likes Noah. But, he’s hiding…just like Noah was. They become close quickly and once they meet in person, Noah’s life changes forever.
The descriptive bit: Noah, Cam, and Parker have been friends forever. When Noah finally digs up the courage to tell his friends that he’s gay, things go well. Actually? Things go really, really great. Cam is a one-woman cheering squad. She has Noah’s back and is about as supportive as a friend could be. Parker… oh Parker. Noah figured out he was gay when he was about twelve and discovered he had a crush on his best friend, Parker. But, Parker is straight … he’s a great guy, and he is more than okay with Noah being gay, but he’s straight. It’s all okay though because Noah had moved on from his crush years ago… and now he’s just looking forward to living his life more authentically.
The night he comes out, Noah receives a secret message from another guy at their school. The message sender is also gay and says that he has feelings for Noah. When the message sender finally agrees to meet with Noah, he is shocked to find that his admirer is his best friend, Parker. Naturally, this is a good thing. After some awkward tension and a little confusion, they fall easily into a relationship with one another.
For Parker, being gay is more of a struggle. He comes from a very religious and strict family and doesn’t want anyone to find out about the relationship he has with Noah. The hiding is overwhelming and Parker makes mistakes and stumbles. It all becomes too much and Parker takes drastic action to put a stop to all the hurt and pain.
This is not a story that is wrapped up neatly with a bow at the end, in fact, in many ways the end of this novel is just a beginning for Noah. Perhaps that is what makes it ring so true though; life isn’t tidy and happy and clear.
My thoughts bit: This book is heart-breaking and magical. The love and friendship between Noah, Parker, and Cam radiates off the page. Sadly, for as much love and joy there is in the world there is also hatred and loss. In Noah’s short nineteen years, he has to face up to and learn to cope with a plethora of new emotions and heartbreak. I cried while reading this. I cried until I could no longer see through my glasses. I haven’t stopped thinking about Noah and Parker since the moment I finished the last word on the last page. I expect it will be a long time before I do.
The warnings bit: descriptions of anxiety and panic, homophobia, bullying, physical violence, the suicide of a main character. Not HEA
I received an ARC of this book by Jordon Greene from Franklin/Kerr via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.
This book will be released into the wild on April 16th, 2019!