Review: Heidi Champa – Not Without My Phone

not withoutAuthor: Heidi Champa
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Keller James loves his smart phone. A lot. In fact, his phone is the most important relationship in his life, much to the chagrin of his friends. Keller uses his phone for every part of his life, including his favorite thing—hooking up. Keller doesn’t see the problem with being connected all the time. Until one night, when a simple text message turns his whole life upside down, he suddenly finds himself without his phone. And without his friends.
In desperation, Keller turns to Gus Adams, his favorite barista, who has never owned a smart phone in his life. Gus helps Keller through the loss of his electronic connection, through his withdrawal symptoms, and shows him how to survive without the world at his fingertips.
As they get to know each other, Keller finds himself falling for Gus. And suddenly, for the first time in years, Keller doesn’t miss his phone at all. When he finally gets a new phone, will his addiction resurface, or can he resist the temptation of the digital world and follow his heart instead?

Review: Like Keller James, I love my smart phone. A lot of my day is on there, from calendar to email to texting plans, and of course, social media. Unlike Keller James, however, I do tend to put the phone away when I’m out with someone. Keller is a smart phone junkie and he is constantly checking in, including during a blow job. I mean – who does that? And then I answer, more people than you’d think.
At a big book convention a group of friends and I went to a steampunk workshop. I remember it so vividly because at one point there was a whole group of us stretched across a row of chairs and every single head, including mine, was bent over their phones. “Everywhere you went, there were people glued to their phones. I was in no way the exception.” So, when Keller’s text and subsequent actions cost him both his phone and his friends, I was intrigued. Would he be able to handle it?
Keller has a favorite barista, Gus, who is kind, funny and does not own a smart phone. This is who Keller turns to after me makes a bet he can go without his smart phone for 30 days. Thirty days seems like an eternity but he is determined to prove to his friends that he can do it. He is embarrassed to ask, “About how you live without a smart phone”, I said quietly, as if it were a deeply personal question.”
And Gus, being the lovely person he is, goes about showing Keller how to navigate in the world without a smart phone. And of course, finding things out along the way. I thought it was interesting how Keller is perceived by his friends (and Gus) yet in such denial about himself. Some self discovery happens as well. I will say – I actually loved the whole premise and lesson of this story because it is so relevant to personal interactions today. Recommended.

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