“Where there is love there is life.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
From the very first sentence of this book we see the struggle Brian has with leaving everything he knows behind. He loves his mom and dad, he cares for Adam, but he is IN LOVE with Jamie. So for Brian, he can’t see any other option than going to San Diego to find his Jamie.
I think the one defining moment for Brian was when he realized he was 100 miles from Crayford. No one knows he is gay, no one would have a reason to hate him, belittle him or hurt him simply for being there. He realizes he is starting a new life. It was like his life was starting over and he could do or be anything he wants.
The first part of this book focuses on Brian’s trip across country on the bus. In my opinion Brian grew more in those days than he did in the first 18 years of his life. First, Brian has his moment of realization that he can recreate himself and start fresh in San Diego. Next, Brian saves a young girl that is being assaulted by two men in the restroom at the bus station. That situation makes Brian realize he can protect himself and others. It was great to watch the transformation start in him on that bus trip.
Once Brian arrives in San Diego, a bit of his newly earned self confidence slips when he realizes the idea of San Diego is nothing compared to the reality. There are more people on one city block than Brian has ever seen in one place in his entire life. But he won’t let that stop him from his goals. Find a place to live, get a job, and find Jamie.
After exhausting the want ads, he finds a listing for a room in a gay publication and this is where his life starts to turn around again. Brian meets Leo, and in this man he finds a home. Basically, it is a small room to rent in a boarding house above a bathhouse, but for Brian it is a life saver. In this unlikely place he meets Mike and Emilio. These two men become great friends. They help him look for Jamie, help him find a job and get him to start coming out of his shell.
Of course, when things start looking good a bomb HAS to drop right? Brian loses his job and that means if he can’t find work he will have to go back to Alabama. Faced with this Brian realizes he doesn’t want to leave San Diego, not only so he can find Jamie, but because he has made a life for himself and he just can’t go back. Right when the money is running out Brian is offered a safety net in the form of a job in the porn company Emilio and Mike work for. Faced with the decision of doing porn or going back to Alabama, Brian does what he feels he has to do to stay with his new family. Little did Brian know, that decision finally brings him to Jamie.
The reunion between these two is so emotional and loving it’s like they have never been apart. Except Jamie is being drugged and controlled by Steven O’Dell and has been for the last several months. Jamie tries to protect Brian by pushing him away, but Brian isn’t going to let it happen that easily. Brian and Jamie try to get every second they can together, and they start to get to know one another again and it seems they just keep falling deeper in love. An opportunity to spend an entire week together at a shoot in New Orleans seems like a gift from above. And it is, until Jamie has a freak out and loses it. He runs back to Steven and tries to get Brian out of his system. When confronted by Mike the worst possible thing happens, Steven catches him in a situation that could cost Jamie everything.
This book was such a growing experience for Brian and I cannot wait to see where the next book takes us. I want to see if Jamie can be rescued and if Brian can forgive Jamie for losing faith in him.
If you want some great YA summer reading, grab this series and run with it.
Reviewed by: Jackie