REVIEW: Happy For You by Anyta Sunday

The Official Description: Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .

Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .

Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.

~ – ~ – ~

Set in New Zealand, Happy For You (Love & Family #3) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys pitted together in a blue 1988 station wagon — and there’s no doubt about it, Mort is going to drive Felix crazy.
Can be read as a standalone.

Just the facts: M/M contemporary romance, angst, lots of sexual tension, gay main characters, lesbian supporting characters, bisexual supporting character, jealousy, mental health issues (supporting character)

Felix is a bumbling, loveable man and just maybe…Mort is his knight in shining armour. There’s just …. a lot of past.

My thoughts bit: This is a sweet romance about a bumbling young man who has pretty much always been in love with his older brother’s best friend. But there have been some things in the past that have left him bruised and a little heart-broken. Mort is the man that once captured Felix’s heart. The problem is that he left. Out of the blue, when Felix might have most needed Mort’s friendship, Mort left and he was gone for a year.

This is a complex story. Sunday slowly reveals the past in bits and pieces. There’s a lot going on in Felix’s family, not the least of which is his mother having a mental health challenge that seems to have rendered her very unsupportive to the family. Felix cares for his three younger sisters. He ferrys them around, he loves them, he laughs with them…  and he loses his license one day while trying to get them to school. This is the point at which Mort reappears in Felix’s life.

Mort begins to chauffer Felix and the girls around. He’s always there… and Felix finds it challenging in light of the feelings he has always had for Mort. But, it’s not great when you’ve fallen for your older brother’s best friend, it’s not great at all. And Felix has seen things in the past that he can’t get out of his mind. Oh yeah, and Mort had feelings for Roch (said older brother).

What a mess! So, here’s the thing. I loved Felix. He’s a great character. He’s unapologetically loving with his family, he is a bit of a disaster when it comes to keeping his inside voice “inside”, and he’s funny. If you have ever attempted to “stop” feeling something you feel for someone, then you’re going to really get Felix. He’s trying his best to get over Mort for a variety of reasons. He’s seen in the past that Mort had feelings for his brother, Mort abandoned him, Mort doesn’t reciprocate his feelings.

I found the switching narrative a bit confusing until I got used to it. I felt as though the voices of the two characters were a little too similar. That being said, I loved knowing what was going on in both characters minds. It paved the way for me to get as invested in things working out as the characters were.

I’ve always enjoyed Anyta Sunday’s work and this is no exception; 4/5 stars from me.

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS)  character has not disclosed sexual orientation to family, coming out, descriptions of supporting character living with anxiety/depression

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel

I received an ARC of Happy For You by Anyta Sunday via A Novel Take PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

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