Posted by gaylistbookreviews
Title: Not Just Friends
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis is not prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max—given that Lewis had always assumed he was straight. Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction.
When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. But after a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends. Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends.
Review: These guys are precious. And so very young. First days of independance. College, partying, grades, cooking, sex, friends, falling in love and getting your heart broken and maybe breaking a few hearts.
I loved Lewis. I am a sucker for the shy, quiet introverts who overthink everything and can’t seem to find the words, well, most of the time, but especially when they need them the most. We have all been in that agonizing place of utter fascination and unstoppable emotion with a person who doesn’t seem to see us in the same way. His struggle with his sexual identity felt real and honest and I was so glad that it wasn’t mired in homophobia or endless denial.
Max is adorable. Vivacious, funny, sweet, charming and able to draw everyone out, he is the perfect compliment to Lewis’ quieter introspection. He is immediately drawn to Lewis and seems to always seek him out and they quickly become best friends and confidants. All of the things that made Max reject more between them were all the very things that made Lewis love him. His quick and busy mind, his eyes that saw too much, his sensitivity and his drama.
The timing is off for these guys time and again. At times it seems like they will never make it work, except that they always seem to find their way back to each other. A relationship that begins with friendship is one of the most lasting, intimate, trusting and loving possible. The thing is that when you find that you want to move beyond friends you must both be willing to gamble that it will all work out. Max was afraid to lose his best friend, but if he can’t decide what he wants, he risks losing it all.
I really enjoyed the dynamics in their college flat with all of the roommates. Those guys had so much fun together and were amazingly supportive of one another. It makes the theory that you build relationships in college that will last the rest of your life plausible. I loved that Lewis made friends and his own life outside of Max’s shadow, I felt that was essential to them actually working out long term.
This is a fun and sweet story full of humor, with a little angst, and the ache of unrequited love that has a very happy and satisfying ending.
Reviewed by Nina
Posted in Nina
Tags: Acceptance, B List, Best Friends, Break Ups, Broken Hearts, Choices, College Campus, College Life, College Students, Coming Out, coming-of-age, Contemporary, Crazy Family, Crush, Drinking, DSP, Extroverts, Faith, Family, Finding Yourself, First Love, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Fun, Funny, Heartwarming, Hook Ups, Independence, Introverts, Jealousy, LGBTQ Youth Club, Love, Loyalty, Making a New Life, New Friends, Nina, Out and Proud, Partying, Pool, romance, Roommates, Second Chances, Secrets, Self Discovery, Sexual Exploration, Sexy, Shy, Sweet, Taking A Chance On Love, Teens, unrequited love