Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on 27th December 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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Some people spend their whole lives looking for the right partner. Nate Schaper found his in high school. In the eight months since their cautious flirting became a real, honest, tell-the-parents relationship, Nate and Adam have been inseparable. Even when local kids take their homophobia to brutal levels, Nate is undaunted. He and Adam are rock solid. Two parts of a whole. Yin and yang.This is a really, really enjoyable book: a beautiful and touching love story filled with delightful moments and gut-wrenching moments.
But when Adam graduates and takes an Off-Broadway job in New York—at Nate’s insistence—that certainty begins to flicker. Nate starts a blog to vent his frustrations and becomes the center of a school controversy, drawing ire and support in equal amounts. But it is the attention of a new boy who is looking for more than guidance that forces him to confront who and what he really wants.
When I read the free Kindle sample, I found myself immediately wrapped up in Nate and Adam's story, curious to know more about their history and excited to read about the journey that this book would take them on. There was so much tension between the two of them in that first chapter; I was hooked.
Nate and Adam's relationship feels so real to me, and it's so much fun to read about, even though it is also heartbreaking at the same time, fraught with pain and misunderstanding, insecurity and fear. A lot of terrible things have happened to Nate; I thought I should make it clear that he's been sexually assaulted by some homophobic teenagers. It's so horrible that I'm surprised that it hasn't left an even deeper impression on Nate than is suggested in this book. However, I also appreciated that that wasn't what the book was primarily about, and that we can see so much of Nate's life beyond that, that what happened to him doesn't define him at all.
As Adam goes off to New York and their relationship falls apart, Nate keeps reminiscing about the past, before Adam left; through these flashbacks, sometimes we get to forget about all the bad things and watch Nate and Adam be happy and in love. We see them desire each other; I thought the sexual aspect of their relationship was really honestly portrayed and I appreciated that.
Can I just say, one of my favourite parts of the book is how Nate makes a new friend when Adam's away, and that new friend is called Danial Qasimi and he is the best. DANIAL QASIMI. Oh my god, possibly one of my favourite supporting characters in any book ever. I love him! He's so funny and charming and supportive and he ends up being like a protective big brother to Nate. His relationship with Nate is seriously so wonderful. I love the way they tease each other and joke together and hang out and smoke pot and stargaze and confide in each other, and how Danial just watches out for Nate and wants the best for him, always. Danial is so much more sensible than Nate is, I approve.
Which brings us onto how not sensible Nate is. Nate is just. So frustrating! He's lovable, really, but he's also terribly insecure and really bad at communication and he's quite self-centered. Really, really quite unbelievably self-centered sometimes. He has a tendency to make everything about him, intentionally or not. But there's something so utterly human about him, I couldn't help but relate to him at times, especially in the context of his long distance relationship with Adam. Long distance relationships are so difficult. Nate's emotions are so palpable throughout the book; I hurt for him and with him and I just want him to be happy.
The most frustrating part of the book was definitely Nate's relationship with Luke: "the attention of a new boy" that the blurb above mentions. Luke is two years younger than Nate; he's gay and closeted, and he adores Nate and wants Nate to be his boyfriend. But there's something about the way he's portrayed that makes him seem so completely childlike that I had trouble trying to see him in a realistic light. He's like a puppy. A pitiful puppy that kind of just follows Nate around. He's a sophomore in high school, but I kept thinking he sounded like he was 12. And Nate just keeps leading him on out of some sense of duty. I think if Luke's character had been better written this part of the plot wouldn't have been so annoying, but as it was I just kept thinking, "Why, Nate. WHY. He sounds like a 12-year-old! Stop!"
But the rest of this book was so great. It was funny, it had light-hearted moments, and it was just a richly emotional and satisfying journey from beginning to end. I was deeply invested in Nate and Adam's relationship, and I really liked Nate despite the fact that he was kind of an idiot (I say that really fondly). Also: Danial. Danial is the best.