Summer road trip time! Justin and Landry have just graduated from college. They’ve been best friends since elementary school, although they pulled apart the last couple of years. Now, Justin has inherited his father’s old RV, and he plans to honor his father’s memory by reproducing the photos from his father’s nature calendar, only with his father’s ashes in all the pictures.
That’s a lot to start with. Also, in the fall, Justin will be his conservative mother’s campaign manager as she runs for senate. He doesn’t want to do it, but he’s been playing the role of dutiful son for so long that he doesn’t see any way out. Even though he happens to be in love with his best friend.
Landry is along for the ride because he can’t say no to Justin. He plans to blog about it while supporting Justin’s emotional journey. Landry is gay, and he has a long-distance boyfriend, and he’s the open lightness in contrast to Justin’s shuttered pain.
Justin, understandably, has a lot of angst. He kind of hates himself, and his mother, and his life. He takes it out on Landry because Landry is there and Justin can’t have him. Justin mainly feels peace when he’s throwing baseballs or taking pictures. His baseball scholarship got him through college, although it was another thing keeping him in the closet. But he threw baseballs with his father, and it makes him happy. His father also taught him photography. Now that baseball is over, the camera and the RV are all that Justin has left to connect him to his father.
It’s no spoiler to say that, eventually, Justin comes out to Landry. The moment is full of anger, and fear, and tears, and it’s pretty epic. While there’s an initial reaction of happiness and lust, Landry then feels betrayed. They can’t easily fall into a relationship because they both have some issues from the past to deal with.
I mostly loved this book. I really felt for Justin in the beginning, although he shut Landry out a few too many times. Justin is the sole narrator, so being in his head was draining and frustrating at times. Landry was so charming, even when Justin was cruel to him. Their connection was deep, and it became very sweet. There were some sexytimes, and both guys were rather inexperienced so there was a lot of exploration and trust.
I guess the only glitch I saw with this book was the speed of Justin’s transition from resentful, closeted boy to effusive, affectionate gay man. I didn’t have a perfect sense of time, but I felt like it was about six weeks? He was hesitant outside of the RV, but he seemed so connected to his emotions inside of it. Is it weird that I thought that was weird? That he transitioned to someone so verbally affectionate in such a short time? I mean, good for him, and it really showed his growth as a person, and his acceptance of himself, and I wish that for every person coming to terms with their sexuality. I’ll move on.
Here! Have some adorable dialogue!
He waved his hand at me. “That’s all the sap you’re getting out of me today.”
“I’m tapped out.”
“I love you.”
“Shut up, Jus.”
See? It’s cute!
Click to purchase: Amazon
Trust the Focus
by Megan Erickson
Release Date: March 17, 2015