My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The following may contain minor spoilers.
This felt… off?
All the ingredients were there:
– Wounded closeted soldier – check
– Hot gay brother of boyhood sweetheart – check
– Secret boyhood crush on said brother – check
It should have been delicious, but it fell flat for me…
Jack is home on 6 weeks medical leave after having been kept hostage at an enemy camp and rescued after torture. He returns to his hometown, to a happy mother and a terminally ill father. Here he reacquaints with the people of his boyhood. His once sweetheart Stacy and her brother Dillon (now out and proud and back then the real recipient of Jacks boyhood crush).
The story takes places over very few days between christmas and the new year and that may be one reason why it feels incredibly rushed. I did not in any way shape or form trust that this was a happy ending. How could it be? These two men are essentially strangers. They haven’t seen each other in 10 years, since they were 18 year old kids, how can they claim to love one another after 3 days and a one night stand?
Dillon came across as a bit pathetic to me. He is still living in the same town – which he describes as close minded (so why stay after his mother died?) – in the same house, even in the same room (which apparantly hasn’t changed since High School, huh?) as he did when he was 18. So basically what this tells me is, that he has spent the last 10 years pining after a boy he had a crush on at 18, a boy he believed to be straight. Well, I am sorry, but that is just sad. And not sad in a romantic way, just sad!
Jack is our wounded war hero. I guess that should make him heroic in my eyes, but he comes across as a coward. At one point Dillon states: “The Jack Dresden he knew wasn’t afraid of anything.” I didn’t understand that. The Jack Dillon knew, was the Jack in High School. The boy who was such a coward that he tried to sneak out of town without saying goodbye, because it was easier. The boy who hadn’t returned in 10 years, because he couldn’t face his past. And now he is the man who cannot admit to anyone that he is gay and who lies to his doctors about his symptoms – this by the way was highly offensive to me. He could people lives at risk if he gets re-deployed whilst suffering from PTSD…
The supporting cast made little sense. Stacy was nice, but the way both Jack and Dillon believes that she is heartbroken because Jack left for the army? Come on, get over yourselves guys… it was 10 years ago and they were both kids! Chris the bully was stupid and a cliche, maybe some people still act that way 10 years out of high school? I don’t know! But he didn’t advance the plot in any way, so he really didn’t need to be there. The moms actions didn’t ring true in the way they tried to sell it at the end and the fathers terminal illness made no sense when it didn’t play a part in the story…
All in all. Great idea, but the execution lacked.