Author: Anyta Sunday
Publisher: Self published.
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: contemporary mm romance
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius.
Summary: Interesting story with a charming narrator and a lot of flashbacks which I enjoyed.
Lenny’s life in the small village of Waldau hasn’t changed in years. While friends grew up and moved on, Lenny and his oma remain in the same place. Now Lenny’s going to make things different: a new life, in a new city, and a chance to forget his cousin Julien–the boy he loved, and who left him behind. But just as Lenny’s future looks like it’s becoming reality, Julien returns, bringing with him all the sweet, wonderful, and painful memories of their past.
What does his cousin want? And is it something Lenny can give him?
As you can see from the blurb the story takes place in Germany. I was happy that the author did not incorporate a lot of German words in her story, but there are some in the chapter titles and very few that the characters do say. I have no idea whether those words were correct or not, I guess if it was not correct, the German speaker would see it right away. I did not think that the setting was portrayed with a lot of detail in it, but I did like it.
Overall I liked this book quite a lot, but beware that if you do not like a lot of the flashbacks in your stories, this one is definitely not for you. The book starts in 2013, but then it starts going back to the time Lenny and Julien were children and then chapters go like this for the whole book – one chapter from the past, one chapter from the present time, past, present, past, present and it goes in this order till the very end of the book. Flashbacks can easily pull me out of the story, but in this one it worked very well, maybe because the flashbacks were linear – it goes pretty much chronologically from the time they were kids till the year 2013.
I also thought that flashbacks provided a lovely tension in the book. I wanted to know why Julien and Lenny broke up and was reading impatiently trying to get to the point in the book when it happened. I was not annoyed that the story went back and did not give me the answers I wanted right away, instead I was intrigued. While we learned that several pretty mundane reasons contributed to their break up and nothing extraordinary and over the top happened, I still felt that the book built up very nicely to the explanations. I actually want to argue that this book is a great example of how tension/conflict does not have to equal over the top angst at all. You just have to feel the tension between the main characters in my opinion and that to me is one of the signs of the good romance.
There is some angst in this book, after all these boys were in love since they were young teens and friends even earlier, however for this writer I expected much angstier book and was pleasantly surprised. I guess you should also consider whether you are okay with the “childhood love is forever” trope in this romance. I am not always okay with it, but again, in this one it worked for me. I think it is because I found Lenny so very charming. I really liked being in his head and thought that some of the things, some metaphors he came up with were quirky and adorable. Julien for me was likeable enough too. I definitely wanted to smack Julien several times during the course of the story, but for me his flaws worked within the story and I often like flawed character. I think it is easy not to like Julien, but I understood his behavior and just wanted for him to finally figure out what he wanted.
I really liked how much Lenny cared about his grandmother and I thought what he wanted to do for her was just so incredibly sweet. I thought this story had several likeable and interesting secondary characters and I thought their presence made the story richer. I really appreciated Lenny’s best friend Ben and his sister Carolyne, I thought their presence made the story of these four kids growing up more interesting than if they were not in the story.