Perhaps it was the high expectations I had in my mind for this one that left me wanting more out of this novel. It's a great piece, don't get me wrong, but would not be my first pick. If you are a YA romance fan however, this is absolutely the book for you!
What I adore most about this piece is that it's a YA Romance fraught with a million dramatic pieces, but somehow the least of which is that it's an LGBTQ romance. As Jane Yolen has said, it's when those elements are truly 'wallpaper' in a novel (and not the main feature), that we truly have hit a turning point of diversity in literature. For that reason alone this book is important and notably significant.
In this novel, Griffin grieves the loss of his ex-boyfriend Theo, wandering back and forth from present-day to years earlier, at the start of their relationship. In the present-day, Griffin navigates grudgingly through his day to day, as he surprisingly joins forces with Theo's new boyfriend, Jackson, to heal from their loss together. We learn their histories, the origins of their love stories, and the intimacies of their relationships, as well as personal fears and demons (which for Griffin, also includes his OCD).
I will say - a pretty incredible opening paragraph:
"You're still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world, where this morning you're having an open-casket funeral. I know you're out there, listening. And you should know I'm really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn't the first promise you've broken." (1)
That being said though, the grief of Griffin over Theo after learning about the whole Griffin-Jackson fling & then especially about the Griffin-Wade fling sorta just started to get way over-dramatic at that point. The love quad-rangle or however you could describe it sort of just left the plot line feeling pretty thin for me given the emotional depth and passion of the beginning. I'd rather it focus on Jackson or Wade, but throwing too many relationships into the mix just made it a bit overdone for me.
For my teachers: note there are sexual scenes in here - I'd say the 11th or 12th grade classroom library would be a good home for this book.
Lingering Lines: "But you and I had plans. We didn't have a map to reach our destination, and your detour with Jackson left me very lost. Still, I held hope we'd find our way back to each other. And then you died, and now I'm left wandering around with zero sense of direction." (77)