Title: Fast Forward: An Alt Er Love Novella
Author: Xio Axelrod
Length: 116 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: Alt er love = Everything is love. And love is everything. Fast Forward romanced me every step of the way, all the way to the fading of its final chords.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: As a nineteen-year-old, wunderkind doctoral candidate, Ian Waters had little interest in social interaction. Books were his companions, and that had suited him just fine. Then a hurricane named Jessen Sørensen blew into his life, throwing Ian off his axis.
On the cusp of rock stardom, Jessen had burned brightly, and Ian had fallen heart-first under his spell. But Ian soon learned he was only a temptation, a pit stop on the road to the rocker’s dreams, and Jessen was gone as quickly as he’d come. Ian buried his heartache in academia, the only home he’d ever known.
When Ian encounters Jessen at a party, the seven-year separation seems insurmountable. There’s too much pain, too much distrust. But Jessen declares he has a new dream, and that’s a life with Ian.
Review: The love at first sight trope is a staple of the Romance genre—that moment when physical attraction and brain chemistry and eyes meet, and it all converges in a perfect storm of synchrony. It doesn’t always trigger the happily ever after, though, and instead offers the setup for two people to get a second chance to get it right. Cue Xio Axelrod and Fast Forward and wow, did I adore the way this book made me feel.
Axelrod tells this story in both the present and through flashbacks, and while we’ve all encountered instances where this storytelling mode has interrupted rather than encouraged the flow and progression of the story, I thought it was the pitch-perfect means of conveying Ian and Jessen’s joy and anguish in the moment when everything seemed infinite but then the clock struck midnight. The story begins seven years after what had begun with so much promise then ended in so much heartbreak. Witnessing Ian in sheer panic mode when he once again comes face to face with the man who shattered his heart is substantial, as is the staging of what’s to come. That moment encourages the need to know what happened to, and between, them all those years ago. That’s when the author takes us there.
First love is the precursor to misery for Ian and Jessen, and Axelrod presents readers with a relationship instigated by the mutual combustion of sex and the chemical high of lips and skin and friction, and two people coming undone in their most vulnerable moments. There are few deep conversations or a series of romantic moments—that’s not what Fast Forward is composed of, and the title signals that—and yet I bought into the intensity of Ian and Jessen’s emotions in every way. This story is about Ian falling in love, in complete and innocent earnest, and Jessen falling in love with the right person at the wrong time. It’s an “at first sight” romance that burns hot and crashes hard, yet the pining for each other for seven years while they grew up, led separate lives, was believable. The question in the end is whether Ian can trust Jessen to stay. Axelrod asks readers to believe he can, as the story ends just as they begin again.
Alt er love = Everything is love. And love is everything. Once again, music plays a role in the author’s storytelling, something I gather is a familiar language in most, if not all, of her books. Song lyrics and the written word can inspire and provoke myriad thoughts and emotions. Axelrod uses both here to tell her story, and it romanced me every step of the way, all the way to the fading of its final chords.
You can buy Fast Forward here:
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