Book Title: For What It’s Worth
Author: S. M. James
Publisher: May Books
Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs
Release Date: February 27, 2020
Genre/s: YA LGBT romance
Trope/s: Opposites attract, pseudo love triangle, friends to lovers, fish out of water
Themes: Polyamory, coming of age
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 88 000 words/350 pages
It is a standalone story.
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
They say there are no rules in love, but will three be a crowd?
Rory García is terrible at making choices.
Dating Micah has been the best decision Rory’s ever made. Micah calms his wild side by bringing Rory back down to earth. They’re perfect for each other.
But when Rory’s Australian crush randomly shows up to stay with him, Rory’s torn between the boyfriend he maybe loves, and the guy he thought he was over.
Micah Holtz is the most loyal boyfriend in history.
Since the day Micah first saw Rory, he fell hard. There’s never been a moment where Micah’s doubted his feelings and when they finally start to date, Micah plans to hold on with both hands.
But then Justin arrives from Australia and Micah finds his single-minded attention starting to slip…
Justin Anderson has a plan for everything.
Showing up on Rory’s doorstep is the most adventurous thing Justin’s ever done. He’s lowkey sick with nerves, but knowing Rory’s there makes it all worth it. Until he finds out Rory has a boyfriend. Which was never part of the plan.
Suddenly Justin’s back to his usual game of second guessing everything, including Rory’s flirting and Micah’s lingering looks.
When Micah’s childhood haunt is set to be torn down, the three of them join forces to try to save the historic building. But will the teamwork add cracks to an already unstable friendship, or bring them closer than they ever imagined?
Justin pretends to shudder. At least, I think he’s pretending. “Kill me now.”
“Nah, you’re way too pretty to kill.”
Those mismatched eyes meet mine and we’re just a pair of awkward losers staring at what we can’t have. I should probably take my words back and make out like ha ha jokes but I’m not joking. I spent way too many late nights thinking about that face … before Micah, of course.
Justin being here serves to remind me that the world is a fucking big place.
We switch off the TV and I scoot closer, craving him like fucking air and I still can’t work out exactly why. “You’ll be totally fine. Just be yourself. You won Micah over easy enough, and me, and Ari.”
He scrunches up his little nose. “Sure, my friendship group has grown to three, what an achievement.”
“Excuse me Mr. Sarcasm, but how long was that group at one for?”
Justin doesn’t answer, just screws his lips up to the side like he gets my point.
“Exactly. A fucking long time. And now you’ve tripled that number in just a few short months, like are you kidding? You’re on a roll, you charismatic piece of shit.” The name calling comes naturally to me, and at first I worry Justin won’t take it in the affectionate way I mean, but he cracks a smile that brings up those little dimples on either side of his chin and damn I want to touch them. “Plus Ruby and Grace think you’re the cutest thing ever.”
Justin shakes his head like he doesn’t believe a word coming from my mouth but he’s still smiling. “Just Alexis to go then.”
“With how much I talk about you she already thinks you’re best friends so there’s nothing to worry about there.”
“Talking about me, hey?” He’s leaning against the back of the couch, head tilted toward me. The teasing that flickers across his face is just beautiful. His hazel eye is on this side and I love how he looks slightly different depending on which side I look at him from.
“When I got back from Australia, Alexis literally banned your name from conversations.”
His lips twitch. “You’re lying.”
“I’m not. She was allowed to punch me every time I said it.”
“How many bruises did you get?”
“All down both arms.” I smirk. “Totally worth it.”
A laugh hiccups from him and he opens his mouth to say something, then stops.
“No, no.” I lean in closer. “You’re not allowed to over think, remember? Whatever you were going to say, say it.”
That gorgeous tint starts to rise on his cheeks as he swallows.
“Say it or I’ll tickle you.” I’m totally lying, but I wish I wasn’t. Every time he’s around I’m itching to get my hands on him and if that means tickling him like we’re in middle school, I’ll fucking do it. But what I won’t do is make him uncomfortable.
He buries his face into his hands. “Now you’ve made it into a thing.”
“And I’ll keep making it into a bigger thing until you tell me.” The fact he’s avoiding it just makes me even more curious. And once I get my mind stuck on something, I’ve got to know.
His hazel eye peeks out at me. “I was just going to say …” His side expands as he takes a deep breath. “That if I had any friends, they would have banned your name too.” His face disappears into his hands again, but he can’t hide how his neck goes all read. “See? Dumb.”
I slide closer, until I cross that invisible barrier he keeps locked in place and lean down so my face is near his. “Justin?”
“Look at me.”
He hesitates a second before he lifts his face, sucking in a sharp breath when he realizes how close I am. Something skitters across my chest as he pins me with his rare eye contact. I’m barely aware of my lips moving until I hear my own words.
“Nothing you ever say is dumb.”
About the Author
S.M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.
While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.
Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.
Social Media Links
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An interesting approach to a YA novel.Justin, Micha and Rory are embarking on big changes, in more ways than one! – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: Micah and Rory are finally a couple. Michah had always had a crush on his friend and now it’s finally a reality. The two teens really complement one another. Micah is calm and thoughtful. Rory is impulsive and frenetic. When they get together, they are a couple that balances each other out.
One day, Rory arrives home to find an unexpected guest. Justin has traveled all the way from Australia to check out schools. He’s contemplating going to Penn or Princeton… and maybe he was contemplating that because he felt a connection with Rory during the summer they spent together.
Of course, there’s a complication! Rory has never mentioned Justin to his boyfriend Micah. He figured that they would never meet…and honestly, he really loves Micah. He has never questioned his love for his boyfriend…but does he still have feelings for Justin from that past summer.
My favorite part of this book was each of the characters. Rory is a wonderful ball of energy. He’s chaotic at his best, clumsy, adventurous. Micah is constant and strong, devoted to Rory in every way.
And Justin. Sweet Justin shows up…which is surprising because he lives with a social anxiety disorder and has some issues with physical contact. He’s summoned his courage primarily because he still has feelings for Rory after the summer they spent together at his family’s ranch.
Here is where the meat and potatoes for the novel come from. These three young men all have feelings for one another in different ways. Rory loves that Micah takes care of him, but he also wants to take care of Justin. The ways they relate to one another are different… as unique as each of them is.
I have never read a young adult novel before that explored the possibility of a polyamorous relationship. It was interesting. At times, I wondered if the voices of the characters were a bit too adult. There were definitely times when they seemed far too mature in comparison to their lived experience.
In addition to the love story and all the challenges that come with it, there’s a subplot regarding a local Church. Micah and his friends and family have booths set up at which they sell crafts. It’s like the town market. When a rich businessman swoops into town to buy it and knock it down, the friends rally to try and prevent it. I always like a tale in which people band together to try and make changes. It restores my faith in people a little bit.
It appears that this book is part of a series, but I haven’t read any of the other books and I had no trouble keeping up with the story. I’m certain that other characters are revealed in the other books in the series! I would definitely go back and read the previous book because it’s about Rory and Justin.
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) perceived infidelity, homophobia, bigotry, trans character is dead-named off-page (immediate response of support)
Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.
- I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
- The Madness Blooms by Mackenzi Lee
- How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters
I received an ARC of For What It’s Worth by S.M. James via Gay Book Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.