With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.
Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.
I completely connected with and absolutely love the first half of this story.
It was fully of feels and genuine connecting as Baz and Elijah began doing a dance of flirting, avoidance, then more.
The story begins as the entire gang is still at Walter and Kelly's "Big Gay Wedding", with even more in-depth description of how the entire event was a bit Disney Showgirls on Steroids.
Not my thing, so imagine a lot of eye rolling. Or possibly just one long continuous multi-chapter eye roll for that.
But at the wedding, in spite of himself, Baz can't stay away from Elijah, which leads to a moon roof blow job and the continued defiling of Baz's very sweet, futuristic Tesla.
Then nada. Baz ignores Elijah for the next month, like he's not even in the same room with him.
But when Baz needs to conjure up a fake boyfriend for a gala fundraiser for his mother's political campaign, Baz only truly wants one person for the job. Elijah.
The remainder of the first half of the book is amazing, as Baz and Elijah begin showing one another their true selves. And entrusting one another with their fears. All of that was great and right up my alley.
However, once they decided to drop the "fake" part and move forward with only the "boyfriends" title, the book took a decidedly left turn away from "Baz and Elijah".
The story began concentrating more on "Baz and his problems" and "Elijah and his problems," separately, which took a lot of the enjoyment out of the last half of the book for me.
Hello, this is Baz and Elijah we're talking about. They fight, they yell, they scream, they snark, but in the first half of the book, they did all of that together.
My main issue was that once these two highly-volatile characters decided to date, it was as if there were no problems between the two of them, at all. Again, this is Baz and Elijah we're talking about, so that wasn't very realistic to me.
Instead, other than a few insecurities, Baz and Elijah were pretty much smooth sailing as far as their coupledom went.
We do find out more in the second half more insight into what makes Baz and Elijah tick; however, we mostly got political and parental headaches for Baz, web-based slander for Elijah, repeated anime movie references from both and a new transgender friend thrown into the mix (maybe because it's a 'hot topic' today, not exactly sure?)
All that came across more as 'noise' in front of the Baz and Elijah love story, so it wasn't really where I expected, or wanted, the story to go, which left me a bit disappointed.
Much like the Baz and Elijah 'feels', the first half of the book was packed with smoking hot, dirty sex, but the last half of the book was much less sexy, allotting those pages to external dramatics, too.
Book 3 had significantly less singing than book 2, for which I was immensely grateful, but I'd have to say that book 1 was still my overall favorite of the series thus far.
All that being said, I did still enjoy the story, so I'm giving it 4 *I-know-where-you-keep-your-heart* stars overall.
My copy of the book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley for a fair, unbiased review.
NOTE: A *LOT* of this book is heavy with pop cultural references essential to connecting with the story's themes, so If you want a lot of this book to actually have much meaning, you should first:
1.) Watch the anime movie "Howl's Moving Castle."
2.) Watch several of RuPaul's latest videos, including "Sissy that Walk."
3.) Watch some of Maino's latest videos, just to get an idea of the feeling behind his music.
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