Sunday, September 24, 2017

ARC Review: On the Way to San Jose by Jere' M. Fishback

On the Way to San Jose

Terrence, a socially inept clarinetist whose driver’s license is suspended, needs his panel van driven from Orlando to San Jose, where he plans to start a new life. Levi’s a Stanford University student with Asperger’s Syndrome who answers Terrence’s Internet drive-away listing. 

The two start out as strangers, but as their journey westward progresses a friendship is kindled, one that will change both boys’ lives in profound ways.

Todd's rating:

While I enjoyed this story quite a bit, it honestly felt more like a Great American Cross-Country Road Trip story, where one of the characters just so happened to be gay. And it did *not* feel like a romance.

Until 80% in. And even then, only 'sort of''...

There was a sudden, out-of-the-blue attraction, previously unmentioned. Even the very slight bit of 'confusion' was under-sold, which 'could' have hinted that more was lying under the surface. But the story never really did that, which left me pretty confused, when *voila*, "You're it for me."

And yes, I get that Levi's Asperger's had a hand in slowing that epiphany down; however, I would have thought that the confusion would have gotten a bit more page time, to set up the potential for Levi and Terrence becoming 'more.'

But, as written, the Asperger's wasn't very apparent, either. At every turn, Levi came across as comfortable, confident even, when approached with every single social interaction on-page, which I thought was a bit weird, given his condition. We were only told of his previous discomfort, instead of (ever) really being shown on-page.

Then, we had the whole "Internet Bride" thing with Terrance and some much older Asian dude, which had "you will relinquish total control of every aspect your life to me" written up one side and down the other.

SPOILER:  I was *not* wrong in that assertion.

And we're then introduced to the plot squirrel where they basically adopted an abused, teenage runaway. Don't get me wrong, I loved Jacob and where that sub-plot ultimately ended up going; however, it felt like a distraction, when those pages could have gone to actually create a genuine heart-felt *romance* between the MC's. Romantic, caring gestures, leading to "I love you's," that sort of thing. But nope.

Lastly, there are going to be a *lot* of women roasting Levi alive for his attitude on personal responsibility in regards to getting his ex-girlfriend pregnant, telling her to get an abortion, then fleeing the state, absolving himself of any further duties. Even I was pretty appalled by that, seeing as how the girl didn't get *herself* pregnant. Yeah, no bueno.

Yet, somehow, I still mostly enjoyed the book (except for the BOOGER part, because seriously? Gross! WTAF???), so I'd give it around 3.25 stars and only recommend it to those not looking for a deeper-than-surface-level romance.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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