Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review: Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson


With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.

As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.

Dani's rating:

This book is AMAZING.

Seriously, I am blown away by the polished, engaging quality of the writing and the raw beauty of this ultimate new adult, best-friends-to-lovers, road trip story.

Justin blows hot and cold; he lashes out at Landry when he's really furious with himself, shaken by his own cowardice and inability to stand up to his controlling mother.

This was frustrating to read, but it also felt real. Sometimes we bury ourselves so deep, we no longer see a way out through the dark tunnel.

Even though the story is told from Justin's first-person POV, Landry's presence and persona shine through in the dialogue and his funny, on-point blog posts.

This isn't a heavily steamy book, but the love and connection between the men is palpable from page one. They share laughter and tears. They fight and cry. They leave and they return.

That first kiss, first time, first moment . . . it's everything.

"Remember what we said?"

"No if onlys," I repeated.

"No if onlys," [Lan] said softly. "Because we're here now. And this is the only place I want to be."

Landry, wearing his tats and gauges like armor, and Justin, believing his talent enough not to look at the screen and yet scared, so damn scared, of being himself . . . they're meant to be, you see.

When Justin has his epiphany, when he finally trusts his focus, I wept and clutched my Kindle.

Landry's parents are great, and even Justin's mom is a well-sketched character, not necessarily likable but believable.

But the two greatest secondary characters in this story are Justin's dad and Sally, which is quite a feat considering that Justin's dad is ashes in an urn (it's his ashes Jus and Lan are spreading on their road trip) and Sally is a camper van.

There is so much to love in this book: holding your best friend's hand; kissing under the stars; making a pit stop to ride the roller coaster; being 22 and free, with the whole road ahead.

What a ride! What a HEA! #JusLan

Oh, yeah, READ this book! This one's going on my best M/M romance of 2015 shelf.

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