Thank you to Emma Scott and Valentine PR for the advance reader copy of When You Come Back to Me, the second standalone in the Lost Boys series.
I absolutely adored the first book in the Lost Boys series so I was super excited to continue reviewing this series. I signed up for this without realizing it was M/M, so when I started it I got even more excited. Emma Scott wrote one of my fave M/M love stories, Someday Someday. There is even a connection between that book and this one, which made the whole situation even sweeter.
Check out the Goodreads synopsis…
“At Santa Cruz Central High School, they called them the misfits, the outcasts, the weirdos. But most of us knew them as the Lost Boys…
Holden Parish survived his parents’ horrific attempts to make him “the perfect son.” After a year’s stint in a Swiss sanitarium to recover, he has vowed to never let anything–or anyone–trap him again. Brilliant but broken, he seeks refuge behind alcohol, meaningless sex, and uses his wicked sense of humor to keep people away. He only has to ride out one year in the coastal town of Santa Cruz with his aunt and uncle before he inherits his billions and can make his escape. Disappear.
Falling in love is not in the plans.
River Whitmore. Star quarterback of the Central High football team, Prom King, Mr. Popular, ladies’ man. He leads the perfect life…except it’s all a lie. His father has River’s future in the NFL all planned out, while River’s dream is to run the family business in the town that he loves. But his mother’s illness is tearing the family apart and River is becoming the glue that holds them together. How can he break his father’s heart when it’s already shattering?
River’s carefully-crafted façade explodes when he meets Holden Parish. A guy who dresses in coats and scarves year-round, drinks expensive vodka, and spends his free time breaking into houses for the fun of it. They’re complete opposites. River seeks a quiet life, away from the spotlight. Holden would rather have dental surgery than settle down.
Holden’s demons and River’s responsibilities threaten to keep them apart, while their undeniable attraction crashes them together again and again, growing into something deep and real no matter how they resist.
Until one terrible night changes everything.”
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Characters: Holden Parish and River Whitmore are the main characters of this M/M love story. Holden has always been out and his parents reacted badly to this. He was sent to Gay Conversion Therapy in Alaska, and naturally, it did not “work.” Holden’s sexuality is something that cannot be “fixed,” instead, the camp did a number on his mental health. From having issues with alcohol to his need to keep warm, and to ultimately his inability to see himself as someone worthy of love and care. While Holden is out, River is severely closeted. It is as if River does not even comprehend that he is gay, it isn’t like he’s been suppressing it per se. He continually just sees himself as someone who was not into relationships or makeouts or sex.
- Setting: The story is set in Santa Cruz, California. Unlike the majority of books, I read these days the story is majority set in a high school environment. The nature of this school and this town was that of classic small-town high school tropes. There were cliques, school dances, and lots of teen angst.
- Pacing: I enjoyed the time Emma took to tell this story. The length felt perfect. I liked that there was a good chunk of time dedicated to the high school years. But then similar to what she did in The Girl in the Love Song. She gave time in the end for flashforwards and a glimpse into adulthood.
- Romance: I rooted so hard for Holden and River. This is one of those stories where both characters have their struggles and need to accept that they would be stronger sharing their load with one another than trying to tough it out on their own. It was the kind of love that was so immense it transcended time and space. It broke my heart to see them come together and then be ripped apart, by themselves really. It took a lot for both boys to see themselves as deserving of love, a love that is out and proud.
When You Come Back to Me receives five out of five stars.
You can pick up the story below…
Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/WYCBTM
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Thank you again to Emma Scott and Valentine PR for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!