This is the M/M romance I started back in July. It is not one of those books that took me three months to read despite my enjoying it. I think I picked it up as a Bookbub deal.
Spoilery review, because I can't really explain why I disliked this book so much without spoilers. Tl;dr: BOOK IS NOT RECOMMENDED.
Early in the book, Craig meets Alex at Craig’s usual bar in Seattle. Alex is drunk and just broke up with his boyfriend. Craig’s general impression of Alex is ‘a hot mess but maybe I can help him.’ Craig himself appeared to be aware that you should not take in people like stray puppies, so I thought “hopefully this will not be about Character A Saving Character B.”
Craig takes Alex home for a one night stand. This immediately turns into a relationship where they see each other often, but they do not talk about being in a relationship or romance or anything. They are pretty cute together. Some other side characters are thrown in for flavor, some of whom have known Alex for a long time and give the perspective that he used to be a jerk but he’s doing well with Craig. Alex also ghosted all of his existing friends and family while he was with previous jerk ex, and now reconciles with said friends/family.
At around the halfway mark, Craig and Alex start to grapple with the idea that they’re in love with each other and this is probably a real relationship (after, y’know, months of recurring dates and regular sex.)
Then Alex & Craig run into his jerk ex, who is now married. Alex dumps Craig, runs away, and ghosts everyone in his life. Again. For weeks.
It was at this point that I lost all sympathy for Alex. I no longer wanted Craig and Alex to have a happy ending. I wanted Craig to find a partner who could treat him with the barest minimum of decency. Fine, dude, you’ve got self-esteem issues and trauma and whatever, but your mental health problems do not excuse you for treating all the people around you like complete garbage.
I hate-read my way to the end. Near the end, I got to watch Alex’s purported best friend lecture Craig for not trying hard enough to reach out to Alex. Alex, who has not answered email, texts, phone calls, or his door for weeks. CRAIG is somehow at fault in this. ‘Why are you not an actual stalker, Craig?!? Why have you not broken into your ex’s house???’
I should’ve DNF’d it.
At the end, Craig and Alex get back together. My only feelings were “Craig deserves so much better than this absolute toaster.” I found the idea that these two were going to live happily-ever-after laughable. Alex’s entire approach to life is ‘ghost everyone whenever you’ve got a problem’ and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t continue to treat people like disposable objects that only exist for his convenience. Dude needs professional help, not a partner he will treat like a doormat. x_x
Anyway. First part was competent and entertaining, and the only reason I stuck with it, hoping the author would find a way to rescue it. Last half was “I would throw this across the room if it was a paperback; I hate this and everything about it.” Author did not find a way to rescue the ending, but did manage to make it worse with "You should be a stalker!" friend. If you are OK with romance protagonists ghosting their loved ones, I expect you'd be fine with this book. It super did not work for me. -_-
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