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?
WARNING: includes moderately explicit scenes of intimacy between consenting young adult males.
Raise your hand if writing (mostly awful) poetry helped get you through your awkward teenage years...what's that? Just me? Surely there are one or two of you out there? Ok, then! No worries, I have no plans to turn this review into a poetry slam, or anything ;-)
Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace is exactly the kind of story I've come to expect from Claire Davis and Al Stewart. It's multifaceted, being a best friends to lovers story, but also about having to face the very difficult choices and challenges that come with caring for a parent with dementia. This story is about growing up and falling in love and family. It's gorgeous, inside and out.
Charlie Woods and Anthony Pace have been best friends since they were children, and we get flashback snapshots of them meeting, becoming enemies, and then friends and best friends. And all the while, Anthony writes poetry. Mostly awful, but there are a couple pieces that are actually pretty good and I could identify with. And so much of it is about Charlie. Anthony is shy and a bit awkward and as far as Anthony is concerned, Charlie hung the moon in the sky.
But what Charlie never realized was that Anthony felt more than friendship towards him. Anthony obviously knows Charlie better than Charlie knows himself and Anthony is a patient boy. Watching them go from best friends to boyfriends was one of the sweetest things I have read in a while, and I dare you to read this story and not smile.
Review copy of Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace was generously provided by the authors, in exchange for an honest review.
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