Title: What You Own
Autor: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: For Ryan Sanders, the Paige Community Center is more than a place where he teaches at-risk teens about musical theater. He found a sense of belonging there during one of the hardest times of his life. With the center facing a financial crisis, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the doors open—even soliciting fundraiser donations from Langley-Quartermaine Financial.
Adam Langley has a plan: survive an internship at his father’s company, finish college, get his trust fund, and find his former high school best friend Ryan and beg his forgiveness. In that order, because if Ryan does forgive him, Adam believes he’ll finally find the courage to come out to his wealthy, bigoted father.
Adam’s carefully considered plan is shattered when Ryan appears at the office a full ten months before Adam is ready, and Ryan is just as stunned. Against his better judgment, Adam gets involved with the fundraiser—and Ryan. Old feelings won’t be denied, and as Ryan and Adam reconnect, they realize neither knows the entire truth about the horrific night three years earlier that tore their friendship apart.
Review: I’ve read a few of A.M. Arthur’s books and I was doubly excited when I saw that it was set in musical theater. I fancy myself an amateur singer and have sung a few of the songs mentioned in the book during my own high school productions. But while the book gets its title from musical theater that’s not what it is truly about.
Ryan is looking for donations for a fundraiser being put on by his favorite place, the Paige Community Center. Of course one of the people he speaks to his former best friend, the one that abandoned him when his life was in shambles. When Adam sees Ryan again after years he is still drawn to him and begins to help with the fundraiser as a way of getting close to his friend once again.
Musical practices and organizational meetings lead to a new spark in Adam and Ryan’s romantic lives. Some sexy scenes and some soul searching have the boys off to a shaky sort of start. Ryan wants more and he isn’t going to stop asking for it even with Adam afraid of the consequences coming out could have on his life. But Ryan is still living with the memory of the very real consequences of the actions of others and there are somethings that he cannot change.
The book is told from both Adam and Ryan’s points of view, something that can sometimes lead to confusion but in this case works. It is important to get the story from both men because they do have such different recollections of the past with two divergent paths in life afterward.
I do have to say I was surprised at the amount of time it took for Adam and Ryan to start their relationship, I’m not sure what the reaction time I expected was but it wasn’t quite the same as reality. The book does have a nice mix of angst, fun, and sexiness for a perfect weekend read.
****Spoilery Trigger Warning: This story and many of the characters’ conflicts stem from a gay bashing in the recent past. Described as memories the events of that violence are removed from the present by time but they may still be affecting to some readers. ****
Reviewed by Jules