I love books from all genres, but right now I'm on a mystery, contemporary, and YA kick. I have two cats, Monkey and Peepers.
Eliot Taylor has two amazing best friends he lives with and a set routine of going to work, going to school, eating dinner, and going to bed. His friend Jen remarks that maybe it’s time for a change, though – for both of them. Hungover over on New Year’s Day, Jen convinces him that for the next twelve months the two of them must try a new activity each month. Along the way, they meet new people, experience both good and bad new things, and have their lives veer off their routine towards happiness.
Oh mahhh gahhh, I heart this book SO HARD. I swear I want this in paperback just so I can actually hug it. I laughed and cried and smiled so much, and I felt like this group of characters were my actual friends; people I’d want in my life. Thank you, dear author, for writing realistic people – people that say crude things at times, or are awkward and clumsy, people that might be arrogant but there are reasons behind it, and people that try new things and it surprises them.
Eliot…Eliot…Eliot. He’s just so damn adorable. He’s tall, skinny and pale with glasses and rides his beat-up bike everywhere. He’s been healing from a loss for a while and just when he needed a partner the most, his girlfriend left him. He’s not sure he’s good enough for a new relationship or that people might be out of his league but he’s fiercely protective of his friends and of appreciating what he has in his life. I loved that he didn’t have much money and lived with two of his friends and absolutely he’d like it if his situation changed, but he bristled at the first hint of anyone mocking his living situation or home because it was his and he cared for his friends. And the joy he has when he tried something he enjoyed? Priceless. I fell for him just as his boyfriend did.
That brings me to Matt. I adored him and I ‘got’ him. He’s prickly and sarcastic, even rude at times. He pretends that he hates talking to people and that he doesn’t need anyone in his life. He’s smug about his looks, his status and his money. But all of this is a front. Because of these factors, he’s never really been sure of why people want him in their life…if it’s genuine or he’s being used. He’d rather pretend he’s not interested in having new friends or someone for a relationship than risk getting his heart broken. It doesn’t stop him from being judgmental at times, but so what? People are at times. That doesn’t change the fact that when he put himself out there, he found that he could make new friends, that people would like him just for being himself.
I also enjoyed that not all twelve tasks were these amazing experiences that Jen and Eliot enjoyed without question. Some of them royally sucked, which made it just that much more real. And Jen is AWESOME. So is Pete…that horny, crass f*cker. And Joe and Carlos. It felt like this family and there were epic fights between all, and then the eventual make-up because they all care for each other.
But the best part of this was Matt and Eliot’s journey of maturing and the lovely pace of their relationship. Goddammit, I cried OK…I cried at the fair and the night when Eliot hugged Matt close realizing where he had been, where he was now, and what might not have been. And when the author described what taking it slow meant? Stab. Me. In. The. Heart. There is nothing graphic here; if you are looking for a sexathon, this book isn’t for you. It’s just a wonderful story of two men growing on their own and growing together and striving to make it work.
I only take a half star off because early on in the book the reader gets POVs from both Matt and Eliot, and I think mid-way through it switches to Eliot for the rest of the book. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely worked, but I would have liked it if the book had stayed a bit more consistent in that area and we’d gotten Matt’s POV for something towards the end.
However, this book is going on my open for instant happiness shelf and I’ll reread it anytime I need to sigh and smile. Looking forward to much more from this author.