Contemporary · grief · lgbtqia content · mental health · new adult · young adult

REVIEW: Watching For Comets by Jordon Greene

The Official Description:

TYLER: Life sucks. There’s no point in acting like it doesn’t.

Why else would it make me gay, give me a family that hates who I am, throw me in a town that would rather “my kind” be shipped off, and then decide my boyfriend had to die? Or maybe that last one was my fault… The point is that life sucks. Everything about it sucks.

Oh yeah, and now I’m stuck venting about it all to my archnemesis, Aidan.

AIDAN: You know what? Life hurts sometimes.

It does right now. I miss my friend, and I don’t understand why he had to die. But there’s a part of me that knows he’s looking down from the stars right now, and he wants me to smile again. It might be fake at the moment, but it’s something. The crazy part is I never imagined Tyler would talk to me again, but here I am trying to help him through the same hurt I’m feeling.

I just wish I knew why he hates me so much.

Just the facts: Queer YA with a lot of heart, heavy subject matter

A sweet journey through grief that is made a little easier by the support of great friends.Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: Tyler and Aiden have both lost someone… in fact, they lost the same someone. You would think that might give them a starting place for a friendship, a way to support each other…but it’s more complex than that.

Tyler lost his boyfriend, Brayden. Brayden was in a car accident that Tyler feels partially responsible for. Weeks have passed and Tyler is still dealing with his guilt, his grief, and how to move forward. He’s pretty convinced that Aiden was more than just Brayden’s best friend. Oh, he was confident in his relationship, but he always had the impression that Aiden wanted more.

Aiden has lost his best friend and it hit him hard. He was sure that he and Brayden would be heading off to college together, starting their lives for real. And maybe, he would have liked to have been the one in a relationship with Tyler…but Tyler clearly liked Brayden more. Tyler doesn’t even like Aiden… so Aiden has tried to put that behind him.

These two young men have another person in common. They are both friends with Kallie. She’s an amazing young woman; outspoken brash, funny and loving. I absolutely loved the relationship between these three friends. They’re the Scooby gang that everyone wants! Kallie might be the only girl most of the time but she doesn’t have any trouble holding her own. In fact, both Tyler and Aiden turn to her when they need help, advice, or someone to tell them “Like it is”.

As these three friends navigate their final years of high school and the lingering grief over losing Brayden they begin new phases of their lives.

One night, when things are too much for Tyler he heads out to a place that he used to watch the stars and comets with his boyfriend. Astronomy isn’t really his thing but Brayden loved it… so Tyler did. That’s the spot at which his path crosses with Aiden’s once more. They are both upset…missing Brayden and manage to actually sit together and talk for once.

As time goes by Aiden realizes that he still has feelings for Tyler… maybe he’s never gotten over them. But he can be Tyler’s friend, right? Being someone’s friend is hard when you have feelings for them and it’s even harder when they were dating your best friend. Add to that the fact that Tyler is processing grief that is all mixed up with guilt over the death of Brayden and you’ve got a mess.

I really enjoyed the way that Jordon Greene captured the way that grief is so fluid. There are times when the characters are happy, thinking about moving on and there are other times when they are stuck and feel the full impact of the loss. I also thought that Tyler and Aiden were great foils for one another in their differences.

Tyler doesn’t have the support of his parents as they are extremely religious so losing his boyfriend feels like things are truly sliding backward for him. Combined with Tyler’s guilt over possibly causing his boyfriend’s death, the lack of support makes him shaky and confused.

On the other hand, even though Aiden is still dealing with the loss of his friend, he’s attempting to work through his grief and get on with his life. He has a pretty clear vision of what his friend would have wanted and he embraces that as he tries to befriend Tyler.

Without Kallie, these two boys would be lost … and I loved that about this book. But, the truly wonderful thing is that it doesn’t matter how much Kallie thinks that she knows… the future for Aiden and Tyler rests with them. If they can’t get past their issues, move on… grieve and learn to be friends or perhaps more… then that’s where their story will end.

This was a lovely book. I liked that Jordan explored some really heavy issues but handles them with the authentic sounding voice of young people. They don’t really have all the answers about their lives and their futures…and they shouldn’t. I really like that about this book.

Please be aware that the exploration of grief in this novel is very authentic and visceral. Please consider that before choosing to read the book. But, I think that most people will find this story to be uplifting and sweet.

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) Character dies in a motor vehicle accident (off-page), religious-based homophobia, intense grief, homophobic speech, homophobia, physical assault / homophobic (not corrected/punished)

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Watching For Comets by Jordon Greene from Franklin/Kerr via the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

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