Title: Our December (The Making of a Man #1)
Author: Diane Adams
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Young Adult
Length: Novella (115 PDF pages)
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Summary Review: A sweet love story but I thought it lacked excitement because the protagonists spent too little time together for the chemistry between them to really jell.
Sometimes two people fit together so well it seems their love was preordained, as if every step taken led inevitably to a happy ending. Deeply in love, Jared and Alex are such a couple, but the path to true and lasting love is rarely smooth. At 15 being gay isn’t the best thing that ever happened to a guy. In fact, Alex Ross thinks it’s down right scary. Then he meets 20 year old construction worker Jared Douglas, and Alex starts to think the gay thing might not be so bad after all.
The attraction between them is intense, but mindful of Alex’s age Jared is determined to keep the sparks from igniting. The stress of controlling his feelings makes it almost a relief when Alex’s father ships him off to prep school. Jared expects Alex to forget him and find a boy friend his own age; he doesn’t anticipate how much it will hurt. When Alex comes home for Christmas, just turned 16 with his heart on his sleeve, Jared knows he can’t continue to keep everything he feels a secret.
The Making of a Man Series
The story starts out with the two main characters in their thirties, after having been together for 14 years. The rest of the romance is told through flashbacks from when Alex and Jared first met. Alex was 15 at the time and Jared 20, and the 5 year age difference between them is the main plot of the story since Alex was underage. Jared owned his construction company which he inherited when his father died suddenly and he had to leave university in order to support his mother. Obviously he had to work long hours to build up his business reputation and at first the job was pretty tough. Then he met Alex and his friend Clark on one of his projects and lost his heart to the then 15 year old. The next couple of months explored their feelings for each other while Alex tried to understand what was happening to his hormones. His sidekick and best friend Clark was always with him so Alex and Jared spent very little time together as a couple which was exactly what Jared wanted since he tried to remove temptation by keeping Alex as far away from him as he could. Matters came to a head when Alex’s father realized that his son was gay and in love with Jared, and he knew what could happen if they remained in close proximity, so he sent Alex away to an out of state school.
While there is a lot to recommend this story, including two protagonists that you will probably fall in love with, I thought that this book lacked excitement because Alex and Jared spent so much time apart. Our December should have been labeled as a young adult romance because so much of the time is spent with Alex and his best friend Clark engaging in juvenile shenanigans. Clark’s face time in the story was as much as, if not more than Alex who was away at school for part of the time, and Clark practically attached himself to Jared’s hip to keep him company during Alex’s absence. While he was nice enough I really would have preferred it if there were more scenes between Alex and Jared. I also had a concern with the many POV’s in the book, including that of Alex’s mother who really had no role in the book other than being kept in the dark about Alex’s sexual orientation.
The problem with a romance like this is there is such a significant disparity in the maturity level between 15 and 20 that the characters’ perspectives are worlds apart. There were lots of ‘fillers’ in the story such as Alex and Clark horsing around, which is normal for boys their age but I found it quite boring in a romance, and some scenes between them seemed unnecessary and juvenile although age appropriate. This shifted the emphasis in the story from Alex and Jared and focused on the antics of the two friends.
I thought that the characters were a bit underdeveloped as we didn’t get to see Alex’s evolution and coming out. When he left he was still struggling with his sexuality even though he knew he had strong feelings for Jared, but he was ambivalent about girls. Also we don’t know much about Jared’s coming out which was barely touched on. The story starts with the two characters at 30 and 35 respectively, flashes back to Alex and Jared at 15 and 20, Alex just turning 16, and then back to them in present day.
The writing was quite good and I liked Alex’s father who just wanted to do what was best for his son. As the father of a 15 year old in love with a man 5 years his senior I thought his attitude was unusual. He admired Jared’s integrity and recognized that he would have a stabilizing influence on Alex and would not take advantage of his extreme youth but temptation would always be present while they were in the same location.
Most of the book covered the period in Alex’s and Jared’s lives when Alex was 15, trying to find his way in the world and decide whether he was gay or straight and going through the usual teenage angst. In addition, Clark who was a major player in the story, was with them most of the time so Jared’s and Alex’s relationship was not developed fully.
There was a little frotting in the book and oral sex at the end so if you’re looking for an erotic romance with lots of sex this may not be the book for you. On the other hand if you want to read a sweet romance you will really like Our December, which is sort of a coming of age mixed in with a bit of romance that’s a cute light read, and I think you will enjoy it. This book is listed as Book 1 so I’m assuming it’s part of a series and we’ll see Jared and Alex again because their romance seems unfinished to me. On the plus side Diane Adams is quite a good writer and the characters will grow on you.