4.5 stars Angst Level Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild/low level heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Purchased Virgin young adult

The Way You Are by LJ Mile

way you areBlurb

By the time he reaches college, Robert is an expert at hiding his feelings—with a few side effects. If he has a little attraction towards boys now and again, he can bury it with a candy bar and go on living the life his parents want for him. The only thing he never expected was that he’d meet someone who would like him just as he was, flaws and all. Now his emotional armor has stopped working and he’ll be forced to decide which life he wants for himself.




Robert starts to “notice” other boys around the age of 13. His ultra-conservative family will freak out if he lets those feelings blossom, so he begins to subvert his feelings into food. Things get worse as puberty continues until he’s officially obese.

As a college freshman he looks forward to a new life, but is thwarted again by the innocent wonder that is his gay roommate, Pete.

Suddenly his “need” for food becomes even worse.

When he allows himself to explore his feelings for Pete, the food issues don’t go away, they only change to be focused on guilt rather than subversion.

Luckily, Pete and his family are amazing people and Robert ends up exactly where he needs to be.


This can be a very painful book for some people – I’m sure. It was hard to read Robert making these bad decisions over and over and over. Not unlike a junkie, he just couldn’t find a healthy way to deal with his emotions.

What bothered me (only a bit) was that I don’t think they author made Pete healthy enough for Robert. In ways he was an enabler only, but mostly just a loving presence that offered blind support without judgment.

I think there is a fine line between loving Robert as a “big guy” and endangering his health, and this danced along the line. Had Robert’s vice been drugs, I think it would have been a more clearly drawn line of zero tolerance and I’m definitely not saying that he needed to diet or be thin, but I think a more firm resolution to work with a therapist so that Robert’s health was out of Pete’s hands would make the most sense.

In any case, I absolutely loved this. Bravo for attacking such a painful and societally shunned subject and YAY to Pete for loving “big guys”!

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars


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