Review: R. Cooper – The Other Side of the Roses

51Wbkw8+30L._SY346_Author: R. Cooper
Reviewer: Ashley
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 


Summary: Sami is twenty-seven and happy to live at home with his family, even if he is a little lonely and dissatisfied with his job at a nursing home. Caring for people is what Sami does. Unfortunately, putting his loved ones first is also part of the reason Sami is single. As accepting as his parents are, he isn’t sure how they’d react if he brought home a boyfriend. So he spends more time than he should dreaming of what might be, and fighting with his younger sister over the perfect sunny spot on the couch. Which is probably why the perfect potential boyfriend chooses that moment to move in across the street.
There’s just one problem—his new neighbor isn’t really new. He’s the son of the woman Sami’s mother has had a feud with for years. Toby and Sami grew up together but were never allowed to say more than a few words to each other despite Sami’s repeated efforts. Quiet, serious Toby was Sami’s first and biggest crush, and everyone knew it—a big part of their reason their mothers didn’t get along. Toby’s mother went as far as planting dozens of thorny rose bushes around her house to ensure Sami couldn’t even see Toby anymore.
But Toby’s mother is long gone, and Toby has no interest in reviving the feud. If anything, he seems determined to end it. Finding out why, and if it has anything to do with the way he looks at Sami, means Sami will have to raise the issue with his family—and dare to step beyond the wall of roses that kept him out all those years ago.
Review: Sami is an orderly at a nursing home who definitely got over his high school crush on the boy down the street. Definitely. Or so he thought until Toby moved back in. After an unexpected meeting where Sami helps Toby out with his jerk ex-boyfriend, the two grow closer together then they ever were in high school. Now Sami just has to figure out how to tell his family. Between his feelings of inadequacy and the old family feud, this may be difficult.

I adored this sweet little novella. The characters were well rounded and fun, especially Sami. And Toby! He was so sweet and honest, and I loved that he was “probably autistic” (to quote the novella). Rarely do you see autistic characters in fiction, even fewer in romance, and his character and story were so thoughtfully well realized that you can’t help but sympathize and love him. It was wonderful. Sami was certainly powerless to resist him. And Sami’s family was the best! (Don’t let Sami convince you otherwise.) When Sami and Toby did become a couple they were the sweetest and I loved how understanding Sami was of Toby’s boundaries.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this story. My one minor nit-pick was that I wanted to know if Sami’s parents were actually disappointed with him for leaving college to take care of his dad or it that was in his head. To me, it seemed like his family was only concerned for him and not disappointed but I would have liked to see Sami realize that.

I highly recommend this fluffy little story. If you are looking for a funny pick-me-up, like I was when I read this book, then this is for you.


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