Author: Shell Taylor
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/14/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Gay Romance, Trans*, Young Adult
Sequel to Resurrecting Hope
Four years ago, Kollin Haverty’s best friend, Riley Meadows, dropped off the face of the earth. When he shows up out of the blue, armed with a flimsy excuse for disappearing and having nearly completed his transition from female to male, Kollin wants to pick up where they left off. But Riley’s unwillingness to be honest with Kollin prevents him from fully trusting Riley again. Despite Riley’s insecurities and Kollin’s abandonment issues, they quickly discover there’s something more than friendship between them.
When a ghost from Riley’s past unexpectedly appears with haunting memories in tow, Kollin’s anger about being lied to outweighs his desire to be the understanding boyfriend Riley needs. As Riley’s web of strategically withheld secrets begins to unravel, he must find the courage to pursue his own peace before he can move forward with Kollin, and Kollin must decide what’s more important—supporting his best friend or protecting himself.
I loved the first two books in the Home for Hope series and whilst this third book didn’t drag me in as the first two did it was still a well told story and it was great to get a bit more time with Adam and Elijah.
Kollin and Riley were best friends and spent a lot of time together until Riley disappeared without a word and cut out all contact with everyone from his life. Kollin has moved on as part of Adam and Elijah’s family, finally able to trust that their home is where he belongs, but he has never forgotten his old friend – the pain has become a dull ache over time.
Riley was a mess four years ago when he walked away from everything and everyone he knew. Coming back isn’t easy for him and a lot has changed and happened to him since he left and old fears are quick to reappear – he worries about whether he will be welcomed back or shunned. He worries about seeing Kollin and having to explain why he ran from their friendship. He worries about how he will react around Kollin after all the years he harboured a secret crush. Riley has nearly completed his transition but it has been a long and difficult road and he still struggles with body dysmorphia – past relationships have added to the poor way he thinks of himself and how he feels about his body. There isn’t a quick fix for the way Riley feels about himself and I was pleased the author didn’t give him one or had Kollin magically fix everything overnight.
I liked Riley and Kollin as characters but I have to admit, for me, for a lot of the story the relationship between them felt forced – as though because they were friends and had a story to tell that they should be together. I felt they made exceptional friends, they had each other’s backs, they forgave each other’s mistakes but when they got together romantically it felt a bit off – to me at least.
There is a lot of information in this book with regards to everything Riley had and was still going through and as a character he was exceptionally well developed. Kollin’s story is no less important and he has to get over his feeling of being abandoned, something that has plagued him for years, and although he is quick to forgive Riley the words come more easily than the action. By the end I was more convinced of their relationship – it was just a bumpy ride to get there for me personally.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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