3 stars Angst Level artists Bi-Sexual Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Little to no angst m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Virgin young adult

After the Romance Novel (Before… and After #1) by Susan Laine

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents


Romance novels always end with a happy ever after. Right?

Evan and Adam are best friends, but they don’t know everything about each other. For one thing, Adam doesn’t know Evan writes and publishes gay romance novels until he discovers one while snooping on Evan’s laptop.

This revelation changes their relationship in ways neither could’ve imagined. Adam’s reaction to reading Evan’s stories is not what he expected, nor is the new way he’s looking at his lifelong pal. After all, Adam is straight, or so he’s always thought, and that is what Evan believes about Adam as well.

When Evan admits he might be bisexual, Adam suggests he try dating girls to find out for sure, but when Evan follows his advice, Adam is caught off guard by his feelings of jealousy. And when the date proves Evan isn’t bisexual, but gay, Evan’s request that Adam find him a guy might be the last straw.

How can Adam admit he wants that guy to be him? His epiphany will either end their relationship—or change it into something wonderful in their very own friends-to-lovers romance.


This is a short story about 2 seventeen-year olds. I didn’t realize these guys were so young based on the blurb. I’m not sure I’d have chosen this if I’d have known that.

Neither has much experience with romance or sex, but (oddly) Evan has been writing a dozen or more erotic romances over the last year. (He had to get permission from his parents to do so!) When Adam finds out he freaks and at first the two fight a bit, then make up, then begin dating!


Things I liked: I liked how “all in “ Adam was, once he discovered the true nature of his feelings. I liked the amount of heat – appropriate for this age group. It’s a sweet concept with little to no angst and a quick, light read.

Things that didn’t work for me: The dialog and word choices. I read on GR that the author is a Finn writing in English – this might explain some of the odd phrases she chooses for her MCs. Like “necking” – they’re 17- not 77! The writing is full of “tell” not “show”. The set-up felt awkward given the ages of the MCs. I was expecting at least New Adult or – actually – adult and I’m not sure it fit for 17 year olds.

All in all it wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t great.

3 of 5 stars


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