Title: Something to Believe In
Author: Sloan Parker
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Something To Believe In
Length: 18,000 words
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: A surprisingly satisfying read about two guys with a rough start in life learning to trust in somebody else and make a better life for themselves.
Two young, homeless men fall in love and search for a way to stay off the streets and build a life together.
After running away from the hatred and abuse of their teen years, Sean and Gavin have been hustling to survive for too long now. When some extra cash lands them alone in a hotel room until Christmas, they can no longer deny their feelings for each other. Now neither one can imagine watching the other walk off with one more trick. Even with no money and no job prospects, Sean is determined to not just show Gavin what a real home and holiday is like, but to keep them off the streets for good and build a life together.
It’s not very often that a book surprises me. This one did. I was expecting a holiday, happy rentboy book. By that I mean a more sanitized version of a rentboy story. It’s not my favorite version but I can deal with it. Lucky for me, that wasn’t the case at all. This was the kneeling next to a puddle of urine in hopes of making enough money to eat that day type of rentboy.
On a cold Christmas Eve night Sean finds himself at a homeless shelter hoping for a hot meal. As he waits in line he’s thinking about how bad his life has gotten. He knew it was going to hard when his mom threw him out of the house, he just had no idea it would be quite this miserable of an existence. As he sits down to enjoy his meal, he catches the eye of another homeless teen. In that moment he feels a connection with another person. Even though they never speak, Sean and Gavin both feel the impact. They finish their meals and go their separate ways. Later, in a moment of weakness, Sean is on the verge of making the biggest mistake of his life when Gavin suddenly reappears.
From that moment on, they are a team. Neither of them has ever had another person they could count on. This is new territory for both of them. Over the course of the next year they slowly learn to trust each other. The next Christmas Gavin is in a position to give them both a short break from life on the street. It gives them a chance to step out of basic survival mode and for the first time they can explore pure, untainted love.
Something to Believe In was my perfect holiday story. Sean and Gavin each had deep emotional pain which quickly drew me in. Through each other they found someone they could trust, lean on and count on. I loved that they eventually found redemption and acceptance together. This is a holiday story so of course there is a wonderfully happy ending to look forward to. If you’re looking for a slightly gritty holiday story with a heartwarming conclusion, this is your book.