Review: Jay Bell – Something Like Rain (Something Like #9)

Author: Jay Bell
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Summary:

Nice guys finish last, but that doesn’t mean they give up the fight. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep trudging through the rain in the hopes of finding a break in the clouds.

William Townson is a good person. He’s kind, considerate, and the last thing he ever wanted was to hurt anyone. Accidents happen though, and when they do, all that can be done is to pick up the pieces. For William, this means trying to hold together a stagnant relationship while resisting the temptation of Jason Grant, a young man with eyes just as intense as his love. Only the future can promise redemption for mistakes of the past, forcing William to choose between the Coast Guard and the needs of his heart. Can he find his way through the downpour to somewhere warm and dry?

Something like Rain is the latest installment of the Something Like… series, bringing shape to another character’s life while checking in with those from previous books.

Review:

I have to admit that partway through section one of this book, I had to put it down and I let it sit for months before picking it back up. I nearly put it away as a DNF, but decided to give it another try when Something Like Hail was released. I’m so glad I did because this is what happened when I picked it back up: I began to be interested in William’s life, and I began to like the story, and then I began to love it, and then I realized that the reason I didn’t like it sooner was that I did not allow myself to appreciate the character of William as he was written. And he was written realistically—with all his teenage hormones raging out of control, his anger at his family issues, including his father’s abandonment, and his anger at Kelly who seemed spiteful and needy and emotionally stifling. And then his petty, nasty, and dangerous fight with Kelly in the car that led to their accident.

Afterwards, his character went through a period of depression and disenchantment with his life, including his time with Kelly, but he was committed, albeit foolishly, to sticking with Kelly through all his ups and downs, including Kelly’s now emotionally needy and smothering love-hate for William. It wasn’t until meeting Jason Grant at the LGBTQ youth center meeting that William started to change, and it was then I realized I had been witnessing a teenager struggling with major adult life-changing situations all on his own, without a strong family support system. No wonder he was always making terrible decisions. So I apologize for halting this story when I did but my eyes were finally opened, and I kept them open the rest of the way through the book.

Mind you—I didn’t necessarily like William for quite a while, but I could see where he was coming from, and my heart broke for him as I witnessed his dedication to becoming the best rescue swimmer the Coast Guard had ever known, and yet struggling with the decision to even join since it would mean leaving Jason behind. And then the years apart when he thought he was being selfless by letting Jason go, his own foray into the waters of being an out gay man after DADT, and ultimately his return to Austin.

This story should be read in sequence with others in the series as there are so many overlapping characters, including one or two from past stories that the author cleverly (and surprisingly!) wove into this one. But most of all because of Ben and Tim, who are so very much in love, so sweet and smart together, so much fun, and such good examples of maturity and rock-solid commitment. Ben and Tim make Jason’s life safe and secure, and a major portion of that rubs off on William. Knowing a couple as solid as they are, and their backstory of all they’ve been through, gave Jason and William a prime example of a goal for their own future.

I won’t say how this ends, just that there is a really special event at the end of this book that shouldn’t be missed by any lover of this series, and that there is a HFN for William and his heart’s desire. We also get a measure of closure for Kelly, another pleasant surprise for William, and a nice wrap for most the characters we’ve come to love.

I definitely recommend this book as a necessary step in the series, with the caveat that readers be aware that for much of this story, William is not a lovable character, and he makes some mighty stupid mistakes, but he also recognizes his weaknesses, learns from his mistakes, and grows in maturity and strength of character as the story progresses.

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