Title: Making Ends Meet
Author: S. L. Armstrong & K. Piet
Cover Artist: Diana Callinger
Buy Link: Buy Link Making Ends Meet
Genre: M/M Romance
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A sweet “first love” novel that borders on the fantastical yet well written enough to ground it in the here and now.
Blurb: Zach is just seventeen years old, but despite his youth, he has more than his fair share of responsibility. An experimental fling in high school has led him down the path of single fatherhood. Now, he holds down a job, takes his college classes online, and pays his own bills as best he can—all while juggling daycare and chores and play-dates for his four-month-old, Mae. It’s a rough, 24/7 life, but to Zach, Mae is worth every penny spent and every minute of his day.
With no free time to speak of, it feels like a miracle when Zach meets Wil in the check-out line at his work. Handsome, grounded, from the proverbial “right side of the tracks”, and—even better—good with kids, Wil is everything he could want in a boyfriend. But as interested as Wil is in Zach, he has his own life, his own family, his own job and college career to think about. All the various draws on their time means that it’s hard just to find chances to be together. But Zach’s no stranger to hard tasks, and believes he owes it to himself to try.
Review: Zach is seventeen, a high school drop out with his GED, living on the edge of financial ruin and as a single Dad. His life revolves around his four-month-old daughter Mae, the two college courses he manages to afford, and working endless hours at Walmart. He finds it difficult to accept or even ask for help from two very loving parents and often finds himself running on empty—exhausted and alone. To top it all off, Mae was the result of one frantic attempt to figure out if he was indeed really gay.
His future is uncertain, his present exhausting, and his past a rainbow of what seem to be poor decisions. But his determination to do it all and be the best father, a successful student is staggering, and it is this grit that keeps him moving, despite the awful odds laid out against him. The last thing Zach was looking for was a boyfriend, the last thing he wants is to have an endless parade of “Uncles” come in and out of Mae’s life. So he deliberately shut himself off from the idea that he could ever have a relationship and is utterly surprised when Wil shows up in his life, looking too good to be true.
Wil’s life is so very different from Zach’s, and all Zach can focus on is that Will has wealth, good looks, a confident air, and limitless possibilities. What could he possibly have to offer someone who already seems to have it all?
Well, as sappy as it sounds, the answer is love. You see, Wil’s life is empty, devoid of a sense of belonging, of being loved. Made to know that he was an “accident” his parents did not want or anticipate, Wil was given anything he wanted—except unconditional love from his parents. To add insult to injury, rather than acknowledging their son was gay, they were kept assuring him it was a “phase” and one day he would grow out of it. When He meets Zach, Wil is in search of a family—and he gets one in spades.
Making Ends Meet is a beautifully laid out love story that grew on me page after page. Authors Armstrong and Piet admittedly had their work cut out for them. This storyline could have drawn big fire from critics as implausible–and I will freely admit that given a lesser storyteller than these women, Zach and Will could have read as just completely unbelievable. However, the detail and time they took to unfold the plot—even down to having the boys wait until Zach turned eighteen to make love lent the novel its much needed believability.
I really wanted to disbelieve that a seventeen-year-old boy could be a loving father, but the evidence was so perfectly written on the page that my mind was swayed. These authors gave me real, solid characters, ones that I could imagine meeting, watching and, yes, cheering on in real life. And that is the beauty of a well written novel, that the characters transcend the page and become real for the reader.
I highly recommend Making Ends Meet by S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet to you dear reader. It is a tender love story that I think you will not want to miss.