Summer road trip time, again! This is a sequel to Trust the Focus, which was also a road trip. I think I like this trope. So Colin is a self-described gay hick from the South who played football in college in California before flunking out. He’s headed home to work at his parents’ barbecue restaurant, and he’s totally fine with it. He realizes that college isn’t for him, and he misses home.
At a gas station outside of Las Vegas, he notices a guy in fancy boots and fashionable clothes. Colin nicknames him Catwalk in his head, because Colin nicknames everyone. Catwalk is stranded because he thought he could catch a bus, but there’s no bus. Colin impulsively offers him a ride. After a brief discussion about which of them might be a serial killer, Catwalk accepts.
They don’t talk much, but Colin discovers that Riley has a list of places he’d like to see on his way to the Atlantic Ocean. Because Colin is one of those “fixer” types, he realizes that Riley has problems. Since they’re traveling the same way, Colin decides to take Riley to the places on his list, hoping to fix him. A few days in, they learn that they’re both gay, and as Colin puts it, they both have terrible gaydar to have missed it. This leads to a bittersweet dance in a laundromat, with Riley getting all foreshadowy about, “in another life, you could have been the one.”
The book is told only from Colin’s point of view, but at the start of every chapter we read an email that Riley sends to Landry, a character in the previous book. So the reader knows that Riley has problems, or at least thinks he has problems, and we know that Colin is in over his head.
The story takes a turn for the happily-ever-after, but then it keeps turning back in on itself, past happy and into troubled. Riley really does have problems, and he doesn’t want to fix them. For a while, he acts like Colin is the solution to everything, but then they both realize that the relationship isn’t exactly healthy. Colin is an amazing guy to realize this. Riley is, well, sick. They’re put to a rather dramatic test, one that is helped with a tad too much magical coincidence, but it shows Colin’s strength, insecurity, and love. It also finally allows Riley to be himself, a person in progress.
Should you read this? It has romance and sexytimes, but it also has some struggles near the end. I found it to be quite honest, mainly because the dark and troubled character was not cured by magic penis alone. It’s a condensed timeline, but the end stretches out enough to believe that they can make it work. I believed! And they were pretty boys, which doesn’t hurt.
*ARC provided by Intermix
Click to purchase: Amazon
Focus on Me
by Megan Erickson
Release Date: July 21, 2015