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Romance and other things

SPOILER ALERT!

Okay but boring for me

Where We Left Off - Roan Parrish

Middle of Somewhere: Book Three Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly. For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries. But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

 

Dear Roan Parrish,

Kaetrin reviewed the first book in this series here at DA. I liked it well enough, bought the second one, but never read. I mean I know it is Colin’s story and I know whom he gets his HEA with, but that’s about it.

I was not planning on reading this one, however by accident I stumbled upon reviews for this story and decided that they were polarizing in an interesting way and I should read the book and make up my own mind. I fully expected to like the book very much because what vast majority of one and two stars reviewers disliked seemed very much like my cup of tea. I do not find anything wrong with the guy being honest about not wanting to commit and I am usually very happy when such man realizes that he can have a relationship without sacrificing everything to be in one. Basically my suspicion was that these two would end up in open relationship and since I don’t see nearly enough m/m romances going that road, I was eager to read the story. Please note that what I typed in the previous sentence is not a spoiler – I will leave it to you to find out the actual ending if you decide to read the story.

So this is the story of Leo and Will both of whom we briefly meet in the first book – I don’t remember anything about their meeting, and I have not reread first book, so I had to rely on their recollections in this one. Will is a graphic designer who lives in New York and Leo decides he wants to go to NYU. He wants to get out of his small town, but big reason why he wants to go to New York is because Will is there. Leo could not go to NYU right after the graduation because they only offered partial scholarship to him and he decided to do a year of community college in his home town first, make good grades and hope NYU will offer him a better financial aid package and this is what happened.

So we catch up with Leo when he arrives to NYU, is worried about whether to go to orientation, about making friends. He calls Daniel, Daniel being a good sport invites him to come over instead of going to orientation if he wants, but Rex (Daniel’s lover) suggests that even though Leo is welcome, maybe he should go and try making some friends.

Of course Leo ends up meeting several very nice and fun fellow students, who end up being a very good friends to him and I suspect that his new best friend Milton will end up being a main character in the next book in the series, but I am running ahead of myself.

It was also clear that Leo would not last long without calling Will and going to his place. Look Leo has a huge crush on the guy, wants a relationship with him badly; in fact despite Will telling him several times that he does not want a relationship, Leo does not stop till Will agrees to try. The problem of course is that Will does not want to stop sleeping with other people and the only way he agrees to try a relationship if Leo does not mind.

And Leo says he does not mind, but of course he does, he is just young and manipulative (my opinion of course!) who thinks that as soon as Will sees how good they are together, Will would not want to sleep with anybody else. You can guess how well that went. Hint – not like Leo hoped it would.

This seemed to be the main reason for lower reviews for this story and just as I predicted I had no issues with Will not wanting to stop having sex with other people, especially since he was so very honest with the young fool named Leo.

Of course everything was not black and white and Will seemed to really enjoy having Leo around as a friend first and then more as a friend and their communication challenges were interesting and most importantly both guys grew and changed somewhat over the course of the story, while retaining the inner core of who they were as people. Will’s attitude about relationships was not as simple as Will presented to the world – he was not lying to Leo, but it seemed that Will learned some truths which he did not quite realize about himself. Leo may not have completely abandoned the idea of being romantic, but he also seemed to realize that sometimes one may need to think beyond romance. They compromised, they learned, they let themselves try new things. I liked the romance between them; I thought these two have a pretty good future in front of them if they keep working at it.

So you would ask me why I did not give this story a higher grade than “C”? I was very bored with a lot of the story. I felt like nothing happened, Leo was just talking and talking and *talking*. I am still not sure what it was – repetition? Yes, I know you really REALLY love Will, I get it now Leo. Was it too much tell and not enough show? This was very likely – for example Leo’s outings with his friends often just felt remote and distant to me.

As I said before, I like characters’ interactions, I do not want to read about non -stop auction, I am very interested in people who populate the story, but I also get bored with talking heads and that’s what I felt I was mostly subjected to in this book. The part I am quoting is in the last part of the book and while it is very nice to see that Leo had those insights about Will finally, I caught myself thinking, oh that’s nice, could you maybe take a page from his book and talk less in the future?

 

"“I don’t want to have to conduct a science experiment to know how you feel! Do you know how shitty it is to say that to me? Like it’s one hundred percent my responsibility to… study you? That I’m supposed to look at everything you do and draw my own conclusions and act based on them with no confirmation? Why? Why would you want it to be like that?” And it hit me with a twist of nausea that this was how Will thought things had to be. That he’d grown up watching for signs of what things might mean. Clues.

Were his parents going to be distracted enough with each other that he could take money from them to go buy whatever he wanted at the grocery store? Was Claire in a mood where he needed to tell her this thing or that one in order to handle a situation? Was someone giving him something because of how he looked or on his merit? Will had become so adept at reading the signs that it never occurred to him to say something if he thought he’d already communicated it in another way. With a gesture or an eye roll, a pattern or a habit. Words were just a redundancy to him. Like the time I pointed out that there were bananas and he got pissy because he could see them. And maybe there Rex was right again. If I took away what Will had never said as well as what he had, I was left with someone who hung out with me, had sex with me, hugged me, joked with me, ate with me, slept with me, and told me about his day. I was left with… someone who acted like we were together. I took his hands and pulled him back down on the couch. “Okay, so, it’s not about me being dumb or oblivious. It’s not that I don’t notice things about you.” I rolled my eyes at myself. “I basically notice every stupid little thing about you, so. But sometimes things are complicated and they mean different things to different people, and I don’t want to assume that I know something about you just because I think I do, you know?”

 

Grade: C