Patrick Mahoney has one goal in mind: get out of his native Fresno and find freedom in the rainbow and glitter-painted streets of San Francisco. As a college freshman, he’s sure he’ll finally have the chance to be himself, away from the judgmental eyes of his conservative hometown.
Josh Dirda’s never wanted to be tied down before, preferring the emotional ease of the one night stand. But when Patrick moves into the apartment that Josh shares with three friends, Josh is pulled in by Patrick’s sly wit and quietly creative spirit. As Patrick’s self-appointed tour guide, Josh can be Patrick’s introduction to the city he loves. But after a drunken Halloween hook-up crosses lines, Patrick and Josh must reckon with their true feelings—and decide whether they can let go of the ghosts from their pasts that haunt them.
"You saved me by giving me San Francisco."
Holy crap, talk about a walk down memory lane. I may have been raised in rural Tennessee, but I definitely 'grew up' during my 12 years living in San Francisco, finally become the version of myself that I always wanted to be. Needed to be.
Right from the beginning, when Patrick first arrived in the Castro and Josh gave him a tour of the City, this story was so full of nostalgia for me. It wasn't just the places the book mentioned that felt so real, it was the entire vibe that's entirely unique to SF. But I digress.
I liked both Patrick and Josh immediately, with Patrick being an extremely green, 18 y.o. virgin from the Central Valley, and Josh being from the City, with nothing remotely virginal about him anymore.
I enjoyed the humor and mild banter of the story, too. Once Patrick finally found his feet in his new life, he gave as good as he got.
The story wasn't all light-hearted laughter, though. Even though I didn't experience any of the bullying and abuse that Patrick did, I for sure connected with how lonely and isolated he felt growing up, feeling so different from his family and schoolmates.
I loved how Patrick felt that intangible weight being lifted from my shoulders when he first moved to SF. Like he was finally free and anything, ANYTHING was possible. Like he could finally be the real him, no holds barred. Trust, I felt the same way myself.
The story was about the MC's finding themselves, as who they were both alone and together as a couple, learning to trust one another enough to open up about their fears and past hurts, then figuring out how to move forward.
I enjoyed the first two-thirds of the story immensely; however, when the (easily-avoidable and possibly unnecessary) drama began to ramp up, the tone changed a bit and my interest began to wane slightly. The story was still good, but it felt as though it had lost some of the previous uniqueness that I'd been devouring.
The angst was fairly mild, but I couldn't really tell if it had been fully dealt with. Was Patrick still pissed about Ramon? Or had he just swept that incident under the rug and pretended not to see the lumpy carpet? I wasn't entirely sure.
Also, I got Josh's hang-up and past hurt once it was revealed, but didn't entirely see (or believe?) how that directly led him to his pre-Patrick behavior. I just questioned the reasoning, I suppose.
In regards to steam, there were a few sex scenes, but the story contained more steamy lead-ups than actual sex.
Other than my interest petering off (shut up, it's a totally valid term, heh) as the story began to wrap up, my main issue with the story was the lack of a resolution, as the epilogue was a whole 6 whopping DAYS down the road, at New Year's Eve of the same year, and was pure fluff.
Hello!!! Josh was graduating college in 5 short months, while Patrick was only a freshman. Was Josh now planning to stay in SF and look for acting/musical work locally, or would he have to move to NYC or LA for a job?
It. Is. Never. Discussed.
Not ONCE. Ugh!
The guys did seem to want to be together 'forever', but the book concluded without a single talk about how that might be possible, so I read the final page feeling unfulfilled as to their fate.
I'd rate this story at around 3.25 stars and recommend it to anyone with either a connection to or interest in the amazing city known as San Francisco.
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