Charlie has one passion in life: dancing. It’s his salvation when it feels like the world is swallowing him whole. When his mom secretly secures him a spot in the summer intensive at the Free Rein Dance Company in New York, he is thrilled. He knows that once the summer ends, he'll have to return to Beacon to get a job and help support his family, but for those two months, he can spread his wings.
In New York he meets Max, a junior instructor who is everything Charlie wishes he could be. Bold and self-assured, Max radiates pride in who he is. As they spend time together, Max shows Charlie what life can be like past the walls of his closed-minded home town. But Charlie doesn’t know if he’s ready to show the world who he truly is when standing in the spotlight is the last thing he wants.
The Storm Before the Calm is a lovely, relatively low angst tale about two dancers falling in love.
Nineteen-year-old Charlie lives to dance. It is his solace in a small, conservative town and among the bullying he endures daily in high school.When Charlie graduates, his mom surprises him with an intensive summer dance program in New York City.
It's there that Charlie meets Max, who's 21 and one of the junior instructors at the dance academy Free Rein. Max asks Charlie to be his partner in a duo, and the two spend hours practicing: dancing, touching, KISSING (lots of kissing!).
This is a YA/NA story, low on steam (although there are a couple sensual scenes) but with romance aplenty. Max awakens something in Charlie, makes him braver. Max helps Charlie heal his inner pain.
There is no relationship angst here at all. The only conflict is that Max wants Charlie to stay in NYC, but Charlie insists he must return to his small hometown to help his mother.
Charlie's lack of communication with his mom drove me crazy. Charlie's mom was understanding, supportive, and basically Mother of the Year. How could Charlie not trust her with his inner thoughts and feelings?
Charlie shuts everything inside so tightly, he has no outlet for the fear and pain.
Because the story is told from Charlie's first-person POV, Max doesn't feel like a fully realized character. Don't get me wrong: I love Max! But he is almost too perfect. We don't learn much about Max, except that he is a sexy pole dancer and grew up in New York City. He is so patient with Charlie, so attentive; damn it, everyone deserves a boyfriend like that!
I would have killed to watch Charlie and Max perform. Why, oh why, can't fiction come alive?
Bottom line: SWEET, feel-good, romantic story with a HEA that will make you smile.