Title: Overexposed (In Focus, #4)
Author: Megan Erickson
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Page Count: 2,320 Kindle locations
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he’d planned to do with his sister.
His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs…
Hands down my favorite Erickson story to date. My only complaint with books in this series has been the NA/YA aspect. It’s not my favorite subgenre; I prefer a more mature coupling. But while our MC, Levi, is twenty-three, the reader wouldn’t know it until it’s told to you. This story didn’t feel NA.
Levi and Thad meet while hiking the Appalachian Trail. I like how Erickson took the “road trip” theme of the series and morphed it into this adventure instead. It doesn’t overwhelm the story in any way though. This isn’t a book about hiking and nature. These men each have a distinct reason for being on the AT, and it unveils itself beautifully.
The relationship development and the character development are amazingly well written. Levi has gone through a personal tragedy with the recent loss of his sister overseas while serving in the Army. The story is told through Levi’s POV, so Thad’s perspective is slower to come, but it unwinds magically. Thad is quiet, reserved, and stoic. He’s a puzzle that Levi can’t figure out, but he knows he wants to stick around to solve it. The beginning had me constantly wondering what made Thad tick, but as it unfolds, I realize the talent that Erickson has. Thad is just as developed without his POV at all.
The angst is delicious and we (along with Levi) are constantly left wondering what will happen when the adventure is over. But before we can even get to that, Levi finds out something about Thad that could cut their time together shorter than even he realized. The steam level is satisfying and our boys do, eventually, find their way to a HEA.
My one niggle would be that the ending felt a little rushed. I would’ve preferred extended time reading about that part, but I was still satisfied with how it was done.
This book has shot up to my favorite of Erickson’s to date, and fans will not be disappointed. If you haven’t checked out this series before, this can definitely be read as a standalone, although previous MC are talked about.