A Road Trip Friends to Lovers Coming Out Romance? Sure thing! The physical journey was most definitely eclipsed by the journey of the heart. How far and how long must Justin and Landon travel to find what they’re looking for? I dropped into this story and it was instant attraction for me that grew to book love by the time I closed the last page.
They fling their caps and hit the road on an epic journey in old Sally the RV- Justin, the baseball player hiding that he isn’t straight, that he doesn’t want to start a career as his mom’s political campaign manager, and that he has been crushing on his best friend since high school is joined by, Landry, the out and proud graphic artist who knows exactly what he wants and is free to pursue it.
Justin’s dad has died and it was a crushing blow. His parents divorced long ago and he lived with his hard, demanding, and controlling mother with visits from his wandering dad who shared a love of photography, baseball, and wanderlust. Justin has conceded all along to his mother’s demands even if they cost him a bit of his soul. But before he returns home to the cage of his new career, he will take this last summer to leave his dad’s ashes at each of the twelve places his dad photographed for the popular scenic calendar he assembled.
Along for this journey will be his best friend since junior high and his secret crush. Nobody knows that Justin is gay and his fears of disappointing his mom and losing his scholarship and baseball kept him silent. It also was a torture being close to Landry and only ever being friends. Landry has been a little distant so the journey will hopefully restore some of the closeness they have lost. Landry will blog the journey and Justin will photograph each stop and commune with his dad.
But as the journey commences and continues, Justin learns that this time with Landry will be tumultuous and life changing. Does he reach for his dreams or let fear continue to drive him? His dad always said, ‘Trust the Focus’. What will happen if he lets go of all his secrets?
I have always enjoyed the journey of the heart type stories that go along with an actual physical journey. Okay, I like Road Trips in Real Life, too. Each stop brought a new revelation and a new experience in this story told entirely from Justin’s point of view. That is almost entirely. I loved discovering that the author included Landry’s actual blog posts and the comments tucked into the story.
Justin’s heart and thoughts are laid bare even while Landry is a bit of an enigma- purposefully so. The reader actually will catch on long before Justin does to exactly what is up with Landry. And it is the tension caused from this knowledge and what is coming that adds another layer of depth. The author did a good job of writing her characters and their back story as well as developing their relationship as friends with the chance of being lovers.
This isn’t a light and fluffy read. Justin does not change overnight or easily. His fears and pent up anger drive him. Just as later, his mistakes are not swept under the rug and he has to earn back what he lost. It’s hard and somewhat heartbreaking to read, but it feels real and the end is all the sweeter for it. But there were lighter moments of humor, virgin lovers, and tender times.
In the end, I fell in love with the characters and with their story. The author made her debut a splash hit and I look forward to continuing on with the series. I would recommend this for those who enjoy m/m contemporary and new adult romance that packs an emotional punch.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #34 NA
Literary Pickers #33 sunglasses
Mt. TBR #21
Blogger Shame #5
New to Me #18 author/series
Books N Tunes #6 Josh Turner and Randy Travis’ King of the Road