Review: Susan Laine – After the Romance Novel

afterAuthor: Susan Laine
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Romance novels always end with a happy ever after. Right?

Evan and Adam are best friends, but they don’t know everything about each other. For one thing, Adam doesn’t know Evan writes and publishes gay romance novels until he discovers one while snooping on Evan’s laptop.

This revelation changes their relationship in ways neither could’ve imagined. Adam’s reaction to reading Evan’s stories is not what he expected, nor is the new way he’s looking at his lifelong pal. After all, Adam is straight, or so he’s always thought, and that is what Evan believes about Adam as well.

When Evan admits he might be bisexual, Adam suggests he try dating girls to find out for sure, but when Evan follows his advice, Adam is caught off guard by his feelings of jealousy. And when the date proves Evan isn’t bisexual, but gay, Evan’s request that Adam find him a guy might be the last straw.

How can Adam admit he wants that guy to be him? His epiphany will either end their relationship—or change it into something wonderful in their very own friends-to-lovers romance.

 
Review: Adam and Evan are best friends who tell each other everything. Right? Wrong. This is something that comes up after Adam is waiting for Evan and opens a Word document on Evan’s computer. A Word document that contains the storyline for the story, Kilts and Hearths. Being nosy, Adam reads it and after three chapters realizes it is not only porn in book form, but it’s gay porn and the leading characters are named…you guessed it, Adam and Evan. Talk about an awkward conversation about to happen.

 
Evan, with his blond hair and pink stripes, is a little ticked about Adam snooping, to say the least. But they have that awkward conversation where Evan comes out as maybe bi, as a writer of gay porn and as a wage earner due to that writing. Adam’s a little freaked out.

 
Evan and Adam are supposed to be 17 years old, but at times they seemed older (talking about sex) while at others much younger (umm, talking about sex and Google!). But Adam can’t wrap his head around Evan being bisexual, since he hasn’t dated, so sets up a date with a girl. Which of course goes far to prove to Even he’s gay, not bi. I will admit, I was getting irritated with Adam as he tries to fling Evan back to the land of the hetero. Until I remembered, he’s 17 and he’s trying to deal with unexpected changes in his world view.

 
The biggest twist in Adam’s perspective is his own reaction to Evan’s sexuality. When the girl date doesn’t work, Adam sets Evan up with a boy, a date that is an epic fail but not for the reasons you would think. By this point I wanted to hug Adam, shake Evan, then hug Evan and shake them both. “Guess we aren’t friends anymore”. Being 17 sucks.

 
Figuring out who you are is so hard, made harder when people around you don’t understand. “Because I tried to do something nice and honest, and someone I trusted threw it back in my face.” Again, let’s hug them both.

 
I really enjoyed seeing these two find their way, both as to who they are and who they are to each other. This was not an angst filled read but more of a journey to awakening, with confusion, hurt feelings, disappointment and eventually, hopefully, happiness.

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