Title: The Forever Place
Series: Sequel to You First
Author: J.C. Lillis
Length: 258 Pages
Category: Fantasy Romance, Second Chance Romance, Hurt/Comfort
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: This is truly one of the most compassionate books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. It proves there is grace and courage in forgiveness—forgiving yourself and each other—and J.C. Lillis delivers that message, and so much more, in The Forever Place. What an utterly glorious love story.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Since his breakup with his longtime boyfriend, small-town superhero Levon Ludlow has undergone an extreme life makeover. He’s got two new jobs, a remodeled house, custom-tailored trousers, and the power to talk to an even wider array of snarky and cantankerous animals. He swears he’s too busy with his new life to miss his old love—so when Jay calls with a problem only Levon can help with, he’s sure he can keep it professional and drama-free. Even if it DOES involve two weeks at a honeymoon resort with his ex.
Pairing up as a makeshift team, Levon and Jay head for the Valentines island resort in the Florida Keys, where an outbreak of scandalous guest behavior is linked to a flock of red birds and their strange and alluring song. Levon’s mission: use his animal-talking expertise to decode the birds’ song, uncover their goal, and send them back where they came from. Jay’s mission: use his water-moving skills to protect the island from a storm that’s brewing on the horizon. As Levon and Jay work together and reminisce in this land of heart-shaped tubs and vibrating beds, a flood of old feeling pulls them under—but unresolved issues and guilty secrets could kill their second chance before it gets off the ground. Can they come back together, once and for all, and find a new forever place that works for them both?
Review: “What if you already had the love you deserved, but then you lost it?”
J.C. Lillis, the author of one of my forever favorite YA novels, How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, strikes absolute gold with The Forever Place, the sequel to one of the most heartbreaking novels I’ve ever read, You First; though let me clarify that it’s not heartbreaking in a gratuitous way, not in the least. There’s such a bittersweet note of realism in Levon and Jay’s breakup, in seemingly contradictory truths: You can love someone with a deep and abiding conviction and yet watch them fly away so they’ll have the chance to soar; and moreover, sometimes friendship and love, even in its all-encompassing, all-consuming, deeply abiding strength, isn’t enough to mend what’s fraying.
The great thing about being the crafter of words is that an author can fix what’s broken, and Lillis does that with an abundance of compassion and humor and no shortage of moments that hit me square in the heart. This story takes place three years after Lee and Jay’s breakup, after they failed at making the long-distance thing work, and there’s plenty of water that’s passed under the proverbial bridge in that time. Both Lee and Jay have done some moving forward, made a few necessary changes, done some reflecting on where they came from and where they are now, and they’ve both grown to understand a few things about themselves in the process and why they ended up where they are now. But can you go back and yet still move forward? Is it possible to grow beyond the people you were and loved before? The solution may be something like balance and existing on a leveler playing field.
When Jay phones Lee out of the blue to ask for his help to solve a mystery at a romantic island resort involving the sudden appearance of a flock of rare birds, which seem to be the harbinger of some odd and inexplicable behavior amongst the resort’s guests, Lee agrees to meet Jay there to see what he can do. Lee does so against his own better judgment, of course, but this is Jay; and they did agree to still be friends; and Lee is an animal talker, after all, who may only be a Level-C super, but his strength is communicating with birds . . . although chipmunks do hilariously give him a run for his money. The setup and the setting for the reunion couldn’t be more perfect in all its glorious ‘70s cheesiness, and despite some awkwardness between them, but one thing remains so obviously unchanged—Lee and Jay still love each other in every single way that matters.
The question is, is it enough? The answer is, watching them find the answer to that question is everything beautiful.
In a world of superheroes and supervillains and “nons” comes a love story that does one thing so exquisitely: it reaches into the heart and soul of its readers and demonstrates the magnitude of what it means to love someone even when that love hurts in ways that means it’s unselfish and unconditional . . . and forever. Loving someone through anxiety, through crippling self-doubt, enough to be willing to let them go, is the greatest human superpower of them all.
The title of this book originates from an unexpected and achingly heartrending subplot that drives and inspires Lee to consider what his own future might look like if he isn’t willing to take a few risks. This is truly one of the most compassionate books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. It proves there is grace and courage in forgiveness—forgiving yourself and each other—and J.C. Lillis delivers that message, and so much more, in The Forever Place. What an utterly glorious love story.
You can buy The Forever Place here:
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2 thoughts on “Review: The Forever Place by J.C. Lillis”
I just went and 1-clicked both books. :) <3
Aaaaah, I love them so much! <3 <3 <3