First love - coming of age - family - acceptance
When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he's known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now - finally - the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.
Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie's science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.
But things are changing.
Families are important, and complex. Charlie's mum hasn't been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.
Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?
I absolutely adore this latest new adult novella by Al Stewart and Claire Davis.
It is sweet, funny and clever, with just the right mix of obstacles for the boys to overcome and cavity-inducing feels.
At around 19 years old, Charlie is an odd duck with a penchant for science, just starting university with his best friend, Anthony.
At 5 years old, Anthony was Charlie's first enemy, but quickly becomes his best (and only real) friend. He's also a poet with some... interesting wordsmithing skills.
The story not only covers the boys becoming a couple, but also the difficult issue of caring for older parents and the gut-wrenching choices that often must be made.
I really enjoyed how the story unfolds, with each step of their journey feeling fluid and necessary. Even though this is a new adult read, with younger MC's, there is no drama for drama's sake here.
I'm not normally the biggest fan of poetry, but there were two poems in the book that I found very moving.
"Shoelaces" is about feeling like an unwanted loser by your peers and is very eloquent in expressing how even something as simple as being picked for a game can make kids feel bad about themselves. Very sad, but true.
But my favorite is "I’m in love with Charlie Woods," showing just how interwoven Anthony's very existence is tied to all things Charlie. And has been for nearly his entire young life. Honestly, I found it to be sublime.
Also, if you're looking for swoon-worthy scenes, we get a few of those as well. Like when Charlie asks Anthony why Anthony likes him.
“You showed me space with your telescope when I was six years old, remember? Once a boy shows you the stars, they’re a hard act to follow.”I initially wanted to compare this book pre-read to Nash Summers' "Maps" series, but post-read don't feel that comparison to be very accurate. This book is less in-your-face humorous, but more introspective and thoughtful. (In my opinion, that is, as Maps isn't generally a 'deep, introspective feelings' kind of character.)
[“You showed me space with your telescope when I was six years old, remember? Once a boy shows you the stars, they’re a hard act to follow.” (hide spoiler)]
Plus, Al and Claire actually throw us a teeny bit of a ' sexy-times bone ,' if you will. (I snorted at " ten inches ." heh)
Overall, I'd rate this one around 4.25 stars and highly recommend the book for any fans of M/M NA or YA romance.
My ARC copy of the story was provided by the authors in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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