Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Published: May 5th, 2014
Genre: Erotic Romance M/M
Book Format: E-book
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by: Helena Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Jonah Gilchrist lives a double life. On the internet, he’s a fashion-blogging Tumblr celebrity. In the real world, though, being an awkward gay virgin isn’t as cute and endearing as it is online—it’s a target on his back. After years of being bullied, Jonah’s determined to start afresh at college, but it’s hard to remake yourself when you’re sharing classes with your ill-fated junior high crush.
Sebastian Rose, with his easy-going manner and great sense of humor, was one of the most popular guys in junior high. He was also one of Jonah’s only defenders. Too bad Jonah knows Sebastian’s kindness was only pity.
Bumping into each other after all these years makes it seem like the universe itself wants Jonah to have a second chance at his first love. But how can he ever hope to reinvent himself when Sebastian’s presence pulls him further into his past? Then again, maybe moving forward doesn’t have to mean leaving the best part of your past behind.”
Online Johan Gilchrist is a name. He’s created both a reputation and a loyal following for himself with his fashion blog on Tumbler. Real life is much harder to negotiate though. Having been consistently bullied through his school years Jonah is insecure and stand-offish. Being both gay and a virgin at an age when most people have left that status long behind him doesn’t help his lack of confidence. Going to college is supposed to be a new start for Jonah, and opportunity to find his place in the real world among people who know nothing about him.
Things don’t start well when Jonah arrives almost an hour late to his first class and finds himself under close scrutiny from the lecturer and all the students. Things appear to go from bad to worse when he discovers a familiar face among the students. Jonah knows Sebastian Rose from his horrendous time in junior high school. Sebastian was one of only a few people not bullying Jonah during those years and used to stand up for him. Jonah had a huge crush on Sebastian at the time and can’t deny the attraction is still there despite the fact that Sebastian is as far removed from Jonah’s stylish and rich universe as he could possibly be. Attraction isn’t enough to silence Jonah’s doubts about Sebastian’s motives when he insists he wants to spend time with Jonah though.
Sebastian is persistent. But when Jonah’s insecurities lead him to stand Sebastian up for what would have been their first date, the gentle young man has to find a new level of honesty and determination to convince Jonah to give them a chance.
I enjoyed this short story. It wasn’t great and didn’t blow me away, but it was a nice and funny quick read; just what I needed right now.
The characters were so well established that poor Jonah made me cringe. In fact he constantly seemed to be walking a fine line between becoming a caricature and being a real person. But then again, I think that’s exactly what he was meant to be. He’d created that online persona for himself because he could barely keep himself going in the real world. While his obsession with fashion and his social media followers made him at times infuriating it also brought quite a few funny moments.
Sebastian on the other hand was almost too good to be true. His infinite patience and willingness to accept Jonah’s awkward and at times rude behaviour stretched my imagination to its limits. Having said that, it did make him adorably cute and I couldn’t help feeling that everybody should be lucky enough to have a Sebastian in their lives.
Thankfully the author gave both characters enough ‘real’ moments to make the story work. Sebastian may be intrinsically good and patient; he does have his limits and insecurities. Jonah on the other hand may pretend to be a prima donna while really being social inept, he becomes very recognisable the instant he lets go of his invented persona and just enjoys the moment he’s in while allowing his feelings to rule him.
This is a short and enjoyable story in which opposites attract and two apparently completely unsuited characters connect and take their first steps on what may well be the road to a beautiful relationship. It would have been nice if the story had been longer. I imagine Sebastian’s influence would work wonders for Jonah and that is a journey I would have loved to be part of. Unfortunately that was not what this story was about. Should the author ever feel the urge to write the story of Sebastian and Jonah’s developing relationship I will be among the first to read it though.
This is a free read on the Riptide Publishing website.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.