Ex-boyband member Dane Karlson is struggling to overcome an eating disorder and a body dismorphic disorder. His fall through a glass table puts him in rehab and on the road to recovery. Then a friend dies. When depression causes him to lose ground, he calls for the only person he trusts—former bandmate Tommy. But Tommy doesn’t know how to help. He begs his friend Sebastian “Bas” Axelrod to aid them through the emotional struggle.
Bas, an openly gay high school student who’s recently lost his grandmother, is trying to survive his last few months of school before escaping to Stanford. Having just lost the only person in his family to care for him, he is victim to the cruelty of the others. His younger brother bullies him, and his parents are suing him for his gran’s inheritance. When Tommy calls, Bas can’t help but run to his side.
Together Dane and Bas find a middle ground, supporting each other through the lows, dancing together during the highs. They build friendships and plan for the prom and graduation, thinking positively as long as they are together.
When I first read the blurb for this book back when Sam did a cover reveal, I couldn’t wait to read it. I knew it was going to be a book I liked. Little did I know that it would become one of THOSE books. Those books where you read the last page and you blink and realize that your life has just changed because of the characters and the story. I didn’t want this story to end. The characters felt real and I can clearly see them hanging out with each other five, ten, fifteen years from now. Sam deals with some pretty heavy topics in a way that teens can understand and relate with even if they aren’t dealing with it themselves. This is a book I plan to put in my daughter’s library for her to read when she’s older. I wanted more after the epilogue but it was the perfect build up for another book.
My favorite scene are some of the ones with Dane asking whatever comes into his head and out his mouth. Makes me feel better to know that I’m not alone with foot-in-mouth disease.
“So I was thinking since you and I both care about Tommy, we have something in common. See, Tommy is stressed, and I thought we could do something nice for him.”
Dane sat but glared at the man suspiciously. “What sort of nice thing?”
Bas motioned to the bags. “We’re going to make him cookies.”
Dane gulped. “I don’t like food.”
“You won’t be eating it. Tommy will. He canceled a class to come here. Did he tell you? He was taking a theater class at the community college back in Minnesota. Had to withdraw to be here. And with college, you know that means giving up any money paid. Not that money matters much to you guys. Though as young as you all are, I hope you’re well invested.”
Bas shrugged at him and began taking things out of the bags. Flour, eggs, sugar—both white and brown—food coloring, butter, vanilla, and lemons.
“I didn’t know,” Dane said quietly. He’d thought Tommy would be the least affected by his problems. Of course he’d been wrong about that too. Couldn’t he do anything right? “I don’t know anything about cooking.”
“That’s okay. I got this recipe online. It’s pretty easy. We’re making unicorn poop cookies.”
“They are sugar cookies with food coloring in them to make them all rainbow-like. Unicorns are good luck and all that. Supposed to be the embodiment of goodness and purity.” Bas picked up his tablet, tapped the screen, and flipped it so Dane could see. The cookies really did look like a big pile of rainbow poop.
“Looks tasty,” Dane grumbled.
“We shall see, right? Think you can measure for me?” He pulled out a couple of cookie sheets and turned on one of the many ovens. “I got permission to use the kitchen here, but we can’t get too rowdy or they’ll kick me out.” He winked at Dane. “I’m pretty sure the orderlies outside are to make sure I’m not burning the place down.”
Dane got up and moved around the counter to stare at the list of ingredients. Bas plugged in a big mixer and took the mixing bowl out of it, bringing it to the counter for them to fill.
“This is really for Tommy?”
“Sure. We can send some to Ru and Adam too if you’d like. I heard they are only an hour or so away.”
“I don’t want Ru to know I’m here,” Dane said immediately. He didn’t need to mess up anyone else’s life.
“No worries. We need tell them nothing other than that they are from you.”
Sam Kadence has always dreamed about being someone else, somewhere else. With very little musical talent, Sam decided the only way to make those dreams come true was to try everything from cosplay at the local anime conventions to writing novels about pretending to run away to become a musician.
Sam has a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, sells textbooks for a living, enjoys taking photographs of Asian Ball Joint Dolls to tell more stories, and has eclectic taste in music from J-pop to rock and country. All of which finds its way into the books eventually.
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