Two men who meet in a psychiatric institution couldn’t possibly find happiness together—could they?
The world seemed to be telling disgraced former child star and singer Cameron Fox that he would never be happy again. A drunken car accident gets him sentenced to a work release program at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility.
Reclusive, traumatized writer Jonah Radley has an entire graveyard of skeletons in his closet. Jonah regularly hospitalizes himself for psychotic episodes caused by a horrific childhood trauma, his biggest secret—one he refuses to speak about in therapy.
Jonah and Cameron form a bond inside the hospital, forged in mutual pain and hope for a better life. Once they leave the hospital, they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the intricacies of living with mental illness—and find a new normal together.
Cameron is what I would call a “B” list celebrity. He WAS a child star and now he’s in a band with his family and they are fairly popular but not “big stars”. When he gets a DUI the judge gives him a year of working at Riverbend, a psychiatric home as work release (at his father’s request). To make matters worse, Cameron’s dad kicks him out of the band for having a “bad image” and Cameron suspects that this image is not the DUI but the being gay.
Jonah is a voluntary resident at Riverbend twice a year. He has a past that is horrifying and it every once in awhile rises up to make him unable to cope with life on his own. The therapists there want him to go on medications, but he refuses and as such they feel he “doesn’t want to get better”.
When Jonah sees Cameron he remembers the character Cameron played on TV as a child and remembers that character as being special to him when Jonah was a child, too. This helps them to form an instantaneous bond that they build on from there.
Cameron’s life is in major flux right now, he sees by being at Riverbend that there’s more to his life that was wrong than right and now he wants to make things right. Jonah can’t keep doing what he’s doing and he certainly can’t keep doing it if he wants to be in a relationship with Cameron. The two men will have to decide what they want from life and what they’re willing to do to get it.
This book surprised me! I’d read the blurb, read a couple reviews and was expecting a very angsty and dark read. And it is BUT it’s also a very sweet and tremendously touching love story that (to me) really overshadows the dark.
I have to admit that I skimmed most of the spots where Jonah is trapped in his mind and “remembering” the horrors of his past. I just didn’t want those images in my mind. I skimmed them and got the idea, but I didn’t need the specific details haunting me! Hogan is a great writer and she does a fantastic job of putting the reader in Jonah’s mind space and that can be an awful place – so be warned – it is a dark read.
However, Cameron, for all his fucked-upness – is a really wonderful counterpart for Jonah in that he’s like a naïve new man looking at the world with fresh eyes. His life hasn’t been bad but it hasn’t been good but it hasn’t ever been as bad as most of the people’s lives at Riverbend. He’s smart enough to realize that really quick (no spoiled super star here!) and that really helps him do good things for himself and the residents of Riverbend. Since he’s in such a better place (mentally) he can be the support Jonah needs and yet Jonah helps Cameron make decisions about his own life, too. As a result they were a really well balanced couple by the end.
This is a fairly low steam story. There’s a couple hot and heavy scenes toward the end but most of this story is about Jonah and Cameron finding their way and finding one another. The smexy times were just icing on the cake!
I enjoyed this book and thought it was really interesting. I’d recommend it only if you’re prepared for dark and angsty but I’ll also say you get rewarded with a lot of warm and fuzzy – so it’s worth it!
4.25 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review
(Coming out May 18th 2016)