Title: Invitation to the Blues
Series: Small Changes: Book Two
Author: Roan Parrish
Length: 220 Pages
At a Glance: Go get this book, people! It’s another beautiful Roan Parrish story that you don’t want to miss.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Eight months ago Jude Lucen fled his partner, his career, and a hospital in Boston after a suicide attempt. Now back in Philadelphia, he feels like a complete failure. Piano has always been his passion and his only escape. Without it, he has nothing. Well, nothing except a pathetic crush on the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.
Faron Locklear came to Philly looking for a fresh start and has thrown himself into tattooing at Small Change. He’s only met Jude a few times, but something about the red-haired man with the haunted eyes calls to him. Faron is blown away by Jude’s talent. What he isn’t expecting is the electricity he feels the first time they kiss—and the way Jude’s needs in bed speak directly to his own deepest desires.
Jude and Faron fall fast and hard, but Jude has spent a lifetime learning that he can’t be what the people he loves need. So when the opportunity arises to renew his career in Boston, he thinks he has to choose: music, or Faron? Only by taking a huge risk—and finally believing he’s worthy of love just as he is—can he have the chance for both.
Note: The Small Change series is set in the Middle of Somewhere universe and features crossover characters from that series. Each book can be read on its own.
Content Warning: This book contains explicit discussion of depression, anxiety, attempted suicide, and feelings of worthlessness.
Review: Wow, you guys. This book was stunning. Roan Parrish’s Invitation to the Blues is so many things… It’s a story about second chances, and about hope. It’s a gorgeous love story. It’s a book about acceptance—both accepting and understanding others and, maybe even more importantly, accepting yourself and believing you’re worthy of that love and acceptance. Parrish handles the story’s tough subject matter with sensitivity and intelligence. Her writing is exquisite; I was immediately taken in by Jude’s story and by Faron’s gentle kindness. I can’t even tell you how many things I highlighted because I was either simply in awe of the words or wanted to be able to go back and swoon over them later. This book had SO much depth and heart.
As with Parrish’s other books, Invitation to the Blues is very character driven. Character development is definitely one of the author’s biggest strengths, and the amount of thought and research that must have gone into her depiction of Jude’s character in particular is incredible. Depression is a horrible thing to have to live with and can be crippling and even baffling at times. Reading about what that was like on a day-to-day basis for Jude was both eye-opening and heart-wrenching. I can’t personally imagine that struggle, but I have several loved ones living with depression and anxiety, and I know how vulnerable it can make a person feel. I saw red several times in the book when Jude revealed how his ex, Kaspar, treated him when they were together. And, by contrast, I loved the way Faron really saw Jude, and the straightforward way he dealt with the depression.
Jude has lived most of his life feeling like he’s disappointing everyone around him. From his parents, to his brother, to his colleagues, and finally, Kaspar, but that begins to change a little bit when he starts seeing Faron. There were maybe a couple of times where Faron seemed a little too good to be true, but he was otherwise so perfect for Jude. He didn’t make Jude feel like he was failing at everything, but instead saw the whole picture, all of Jude’s pieces together. I loved Faron so, so much, and I absolutely loved them together. I think the fact that they were both artists and each felt their craft so deeply was a big part of what drew them together. The scenes where Faron was painting or Jude was either playing or talking about his music were absolutely breathtaking. Parrish’s writing is so masterful and mesmerizing.
This book is the second in a series—it’s the sequel to Small Change—but, it can definitely be read as a standalone. In fact, I haven’t read Small Change yet, but after seeing Ginger and Christopher again here (they were both first introduced in In the Middle of Somewhere) and falling in love with them both, you can bet I’m going to be getting on that soon. Ginger is hilarious and smart, and Christopher is such a sweetheart. I can’t wait to read their story, too.
Go get this book, people! It’s another beautiful Roan Parrish story that you don’t want to miss.
You can buy Invitation to the Blues here:
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