The story of two irresistible young men discovering love …
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 4.25 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis is not prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max—given that Lewis had always assumed he was straight. Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction.
When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. But after a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends. Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends.
Jay Northcote tells the story in Not Just Friends of Lewis and Max who meet each other as flat mates during their first year college (or “Uni” since this is set in Britain). Lewis, who has always thought of himself as straight, is surprised to find himself growing increasingly attracted to beautiful, proudly gay Max.
Not Just Friends is told from Lewis’ perspective, and Northcote’s portrayal of Lewis’ internal struggle to understand and deal with his evolving sexuality is conflicted and honest, and not glossed over as is often portrayed in M/M romance. Also, the emotions and very real struggle that Lewis undergo to actually be real friends with Max after Max has rejected having a romantic relationship, are both sincere and painful to read for anyone who has ever cared enough about someone to push past old hurts to maintain an important relationship.
This story has many favorite elements: the gay virgin (I admit it … I like the gay virgin trope!), young adults/coming of age, angst, and a happy ending. Not Just Friends is also very British – during their first weekend together as a couple in love, they actually take a break for tea! How cute is that?! I also love the book cover – it’s sexy and still in keeping with the age and description of the characters. Even though the happy ending is realistic, and there is the promise of a future together, I would have also enjoyed an epilogue that gives the reader the satisfaction of seeing Lewis and Max are a couple past their first year.
Not Just Friends is a sincere, angsty, and lovely coming of age story that I truly enjoyed and recommend!
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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