Theo Wooten and Chris Mitcham have been friends for years, despite Theo’s nerdiness and Chris’s golden boy charm. Theo lives next door to Chris with his twin sister and his mother after his parents divorced. His relationship with his father is rocky, his social status a mess and his sister is much cooler than he is. For the last year Theo has been attracted to Chris, and he feels bad about not telling him but is afraid of losing their friendship. When Theo’s sexuality is revealed will he be able to keep all the people he cares about?
I rather enjoyed this book both for the quality narration and the interesting Coming Of Age story. It is both poignant and funny, and written in a lyrical descriptive way I love! This book is a great YA Coming Of Age that is sexy and achingly heart waring. If you like YA with lots of sexy times this just might be the book for you! This story is full of emotion and realness, it’s a beautiful tale of self-discovery and knowing one’s worth.
This is a classic Friends To Lovers with Theo and Chris sharing this incredible bond that goes beyond social status and ethnicity. I say this because throughout the book that issue comes up, both as racist slurs, jokes and material value VS love and caring. The best example is Theo’s parents, a white dentist and a Hispanic immigrant. Theo’s father keeps measuring his value in money, and despite the fact his mother is not financially sound you can clearly tell she is much more supportive and caring than his cold, selfish, alcoholic father. These important themes are incorporated well into the story and give it more depth. Another notable element is Theo’s namesake, his great uncle, who has dementia. Captain Wooten is a wonderful side character that is a mirror image for Theo, showing him what happens when you let fear and familial expectations dictate your life choices. Theo is very much struggling with his identity and how he wants to live, and his visitations to his Uncle show him a side of his family he did not know about.
I love how this book shows a true teenage struggle, the exploration of sexuality and questionable decisions fueled by hormones and confusion. Theo is sucked into a relationship with a boy he probably shouldn’t, despite being in love with his best friend Chris. I know many reads shy from books where an MC has a relationship with another character, and here it is described in detail. I personally do not like these kinds of things in stories but here it was fitting, it felt very human to me, and VERY teen like. Chris, his best friend and supporter is such a mature young man, I loved how he steered Theo through the turbulence of his coming out and his relationship with his father. He is the rock that Theo leans on, and he has a very optimistic attitude. The way they get together and explore their connection was wonderful, frantic and gentle at the same time. Also, their relationship is much more HFN then HEA, and that also is fitting these characters and where they are in their life, this is just the beginning of their story.
Michael Mola did an amazing job narrating this book, I especially liked how he used breath and added a lot of effects in his narration. He truly preformed this book, and it added a whole new dimension to it. He had a distinct voice for every character, juggling many personalities with ease. The only thing I would change is the accent he did for Theo’s voice. Theo is described as coming from a home were his mother spoke Spanish to him growing up. His twin sister is said to understand but not speak it and it implies that she is trying to “pass” as white American rather than Ethnic. However I do not understand why the narrator chose a Spanish accent for Theo, especially when he did not pull it off so well. It sounded weirdly French and awkward, and in no part of the story does it say he had an accent, nor does it make sense if his twin does not. It was such a shame as everything else from his tone to his pitch was so good and I really enjoyed and admired his skill in performing this book. It’s not a deal breaker for me but was a constant let down and the reason I gave this book 4 Stars and not 5.
4 of 5 stars