The Official Description: When unexpected tragedy strikes, shattering eighteen-year-old Ryan’s idyllic life, he does the only thing he can to stay sane… he slaps on a mask, pretends he’s fine, and takes off for college. Week after week, he drifts through school in a bleak half-life. He doesn’t care about anything, or anyone—least of all himself.
Then Liam Doyle hurtles into his life with easy smiles, effortless caring, and those kind hazel eyes that see straight through him. Liam sees him and wants to stick around anyway.
And that… well, that’s terrifying.
Intensely unforgettable, Breathe Out Slow is a heart-rending journey of loss, bittersweet memories, and two incredible love stories.
Just the facts: M/M romance, tragic loss of a partner, someone who is always there.
Grief is messy, real and all-encompassing. Sometimes, someone comes along to help you find your way out of the darkness. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: This story is centered on a tragedy that no one would want to live through. Ryan and Chris were involved… best friends to the world around them but lovers when alone. Ryan was okay with that…he thought they had all the time in the world to work things out. Everything changes one night when Ryan stumbles on Chris with a girl in his arms. They fight. It’s ugly and hurtful. Ryan heads home needing time alone.
Chris gets drunk and when he’s trying to drive to Ryan’s house to talk to him… he’s killed in a tragic accident.
Losing that first love is almost unbearable. Lawless has captured the way a young soul can drown in grief. It feels as though you will never emerge from under it, and even when you manage a brief glimpse of happiness…. it feels wrong. Ryan is hurt and broken and he tries to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and playing along with life.
Liam intervenes one night when Ryan is too drunk to realize that he’s been drugged by some asshole in a bar. Liam drives Ryan to the hospital and stays in the waiting room… not even sure why.
Lawless digs pretty deep into Ryan’s grief in the short span of this novella. I wish that it was longer. There were some things missing for me! I feel as though I didn’t know much about Chris in the end… why did he make the decisions he did? What was his family like?
I would read more by this author so this is 3-stars from me!
Things You May Want To Know: 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) Partner of MC drives while drunk and is killed in an accident in past, alcohol abuse in present, MC is drugged without consent, brief hospital stay.
Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.
- The Love Left Behind by Daniel de Lorne
- The Ghosts Between Us (The West Hills #1) by Brigham Vaughn
- A Mark on My Soul by Jordon Greene
I received an ARC of Breathe Out Slowly by A.D. Lawless from NineStar Press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.