Title: For Sam, Times Infinity
Author: Suki Fleet
Release Date: November 15, 2019
Genre(s): Young Adult
Page Count: 216
Reviewed by: Valerie
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
After growing up in care, all Sam wants is to make a home for him and Tommy, his kid brother by choice. But it’s not as easy as he thought, especially when his social worker finds him a job miles away. And falling for the surprising boy at work only makes things harder.
Evra is different, his past a mystery. Being truly himself is not something he’s ever felt safe enough to be with anyone, not until Sam, the shyest boy ever, saves his life at work and Evra finds himself inexplicably trusting him. Wanting him.
Problem is, Sam is leaving, unable to stand being so far away from Tommy. And Evra can’t leave, not when he has consequences to face.
Making things work might seem complicated, but sometimes falling in love has its own consequences.
I cried. Of course I did. It’s Suki Fleet. For Sam, Times Infinity is written in the same vein as Foxes and This is Not a Love Story, two of their Rainbow Award winning books about teens struggling against all odds. This is Fleet at their best – when their characters are at their worst. Instead of boys dealing with family strife and coming out, or high school popularity and bullying, their best characters are struggling to survive homelessness, institutionalization, abuse, being orphans, having to fend off predators, and fearing what tomorrow will bring. Grab the tissues, this book is no different.
For Sam, Times Infinity is written in alternating first person POV. When I began reading about Sam, the first MC, I was sure he was the sad, hurting character. But when it switched to Evra’s POV, he was equally as despairing. That’s Suki Fleet. Their hurt/comfort books are not about one who hurts and one who comforts; they both hurt and they both comfort.
Sam, 18, has aged out of the kid’s home (orphanage) he’s lived in since a young age. He’s now on his own for the first time, living in a room behind a laundromat and working in a factory. He is painfully shy, has no friends, and is being picked on at work. Worst of all, he is separated by many hours across the country from his 13 year-old “brother” Tommy, a boy he has loved and cared for since Tommy was a baby. Tommy is his reason for being.
Sam meets Evra, a co-worker from the factory, and a mutual attraction blossoms. Evra is even worse off, with a past so horrific it brings tears to my eyes even now, and a present so frustrating and hopeless it does nothing to allay my sadness.
These boys have next to nothing – literally nothing but phones, a few pieces of clothing, and a basic place to sleep. They live such rudimentary lives. But what they long for is not material, it’s simply love. Can you imagine having no love in your life? No parents, family, intimacy, sense of connection or belonging? We take it so for granted, this basic component of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, yet it is a gaping hole in these characters’ lives.
I wonder what it is like to be hugged so fiercely. To be loved so surely.
Sam has Tommy but is tortured by the distance that keeps them apart. Evra also has a brother, but not, a young man who lived through the same childhood tragedy with Evra and now lives at the same supported housing they’re not free to leave. This brother is Evra’s guardian angel who views his purpose as keeping Evra safe. As the book progresses, an opportunity may arise for Sam to return home, but this would mean leaving Evra, for whom his feelings are rapidly burgeoning. At present, Evra can’t leave his home to follow, though.
As is the case in stories with main characters that have so little other than each other, the emotions for each other are intense. There is only one graphic scene, which is appropriate in content for two boys/young men experiencing any form of sexual activity for the first time. They fumble while being driven by the intense emotional and physical need to be together. They are so desperate when they kiss and touch for the first time, and they must be thinking it could be the last.
But more than that, I want my mouth on his, I want to kiss until our jaws ache, until the world crumbles to dust and is remade all around us.
I would have liked further exploration of their feelings and additional steam, but then again, I’d probably be sobbing on the floor if there were even more Feels. As it is, For Sam, Times Infinity scores a 5 out of 5 on the Feels Meter.
I’m really taken by how selfless these boys are. Both are jealous (but not unkindly) of the brother, but not in the other’s life because they know that relationship has to come first and might mean the end for Sam and Evra.
Problem is, Sam is not mine. Sam is longing and wishful thinking. Sam is Tommy’s. And that is okay, because it has to be.
I also like how Sam and Evra are so open and honest in their communication; no subterfuge here, no misunderstandings (the worst turn-off for me).
“What does it feel like, the being nervous?”
He laughed again, softer this time, his blush a little fiercer. “Um… like I don’t quite know what I’m doing… or what you’re doing…”
“I do not know what I am doing either.” Well, I know I am smiling because it is very hard to stop.
“And I’m a bit scared I making a fool of myself… or reading things completely wrong… ”
I adored this book and highly recommend it to readers who are in need of a good dose of angst. The author stayed true to their style and kept me engaged throughout. While I had an idea what direction the conclusion would take, I couldn’t quite figure out how it would resolve until the ending, which is a sweet and realistic HEA. I will eagerly await the next offering from Suki and most likely reread For Sam, Times Infinity in the meantime.
I love the title, by the way!