Title: Upside Down
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Blue Heart Press
Release Date: March 21st 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 180 pages
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Jordan O’Neill isn’t a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But he when he realizes adding the label ‘asexual’ might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.
Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he’s determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.
A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who’s trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn’t been turned upside down at all, but maybe it’s now—for the first time in his life—the right way up.
Instead of “Heat” level, I need a “Sweet” level, because this would have been rocking a “6”.
I enjoyed this immensely. It was engaging, it was laugh out loud, it was read out loud to the nearest person. I found it educational without being preachy and it was thought provoking. Jordan is an absolute hoot and Hennessy a grounding counter balance to Jordan’s extremes. The supporting cast is as varied as there are flowers in a garden – every single one of them beautiful.
And I LOVED that this was a ROMANCE on a BUS, with only 5 minutes to talk each day. I loved that there was no sex. Honestly, I skip the majority of sex scenes it was very refreshing to have a romance that wasn’t centered around sex. Because sex does not always equal romance and I think that is a failing in the romance genre.
So why the 4.0 stars? Well, we hit one of my big quirks- the Tell All Female Bestie. This trope has become like nails on a chalk board for me. I loved Merry’s character, I didn’t like the Tell All Bestie aspect. But that’s me.
We, the audience, are to understand that there is a spectrum of being asexual. So why were Jordan and Hennessy the. exact. same? I wanted, needed some small difference between the two to better highlight that asexual continuum to compliment the discussions at the support group and the discussions between Jordan and Hennessy. The…sameness bothered me.
And, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the Asexual Support Group Hennessy was starting. We’re introduced to it at the beginning, it’s mentioned in the middle, but we don’t return to it until “the misunderstanding” toward the end and again in the Epilogue. This was a brilliant way to convey the message of what it may be to be asexual without it becoming a blatant info dump.
Ultimately, this was a fantastic book. Even with four stars I’m putting it at “recommended”. It’s fun. It’s sweet. The dating on the bus is awesome. It has an important message that I hope readers will be receptive to reading. And, if it’s not your cuppa tea, that’s okay too.
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