Day 2 of TBR Takedown had me taking down You & Me by Tal Bauer which was a bit of a whiplash from Bass-Ackwards by Eris Adderly which was Day 1's book. I went from pure smut to one of the most heart-wrenching, emotional books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Blurb: Landon Larsen is the envy of all the dads in Last Waters, Texas. He's cool, confident, and put together. He and his son—the high school's all-star quarterback—have the perfect father-son relationship. He’s such a Super Dad, it's almost sickening.
I'm not cool, or confident, and my relationship with my son couldn't be worse. He's barely speaking to me, and a year after my wife died, we're both clinging to the wreckage of our family.
Landon's son and mine are best friends and—of course—Landon is the football Team Dad. And though I know nothing about football, Landon convinces me to volunteer to be closer to my son. Volunteering might give him and me a chance to rebuild what's broken between us. Now I'm spending all my free time with the team—and with Landon—and the more we're together, the deeper our friendship grows. My son is opening up, too, little by little. I think I’m getting him back.
There's just one giant problem. I'm head over heels for Landon. I've never been attracted to men in my life… until him. Landon draws me in without even trying, and the harder I fight this, the deeper I fall.
Crushing on my son's best friend's father must be my biggest parenting failure ever, but I can't get enough of Landon. Falling for him puts each fragile moment I've rebuilt with my son at risk. What would he think if he knew I craved his best friend's dad? I'm playing with fire, but I can't turn off these feelings Landon has unlocked inside of me.
Of course, a guy like Landon could never fall for someone like me. It's pointless to even imagine we could be something together.
So why did I just kiss him?
Review: You & Me was one of those books where the feelings are so real--so powerful--that I had to put the book down periodically to just reflect on the way it was just emotionally destroying me in the absolute best way. I am still pretty shocked that a book about two gay men, football, Texas, and Mormonism could be so low angst. Don't get me wrong, I mean, it wasn't no angst. There was definitely a lot of inner turmoil in our hero Luke's family, and recovering from a traumatic experience, but outside of that everyone was loving and supportive and the happiness of the characters shone through in every page, every word.
Luke was such a lovely character, such a wonderful human being inside and out. He was in so, so much pain that it should be been hard to read (and at times it was, honestly) but Landon's constant presence helped balance the sadness with pure, unadulterated happiness. I wanted nothing but the best for both these characters from page one. I was even crazily invested in the lives of their sons, Emmet and Bowen. A book where you love every character is such a beautiful thing.
And while the book definitely had painful moments, it was the underlying feeling of hope slipping through every little crack that made my heart soar. There was no big drop. No 3rd act break up. No miscommunication that sent both characters on a downward spiral (in fact, this book had a lot of communication and openness and honesty between Luke and Landon). The book just climbed higher and higher and higher and left me there, floating.
It's definitely a slow burn, but very much worth the wait. Every stolen moment will have your heart thudding out of your chest and tears burning in your eyes. I never wanted this book to end though, so the speed with which they go from friends to lovers didn't bother me at all. I would have hung out in that limbo for another six hundred pages, honestly.
The highlights of this book were definitely the relationships. The one between their sons, Emmet and Bowen, as they became the closest of friends and confidants. The supportive and loving one between Landon and Bowen. The strained and uncomfortable one between Luke and Emmet that we slowly get to witness heal. The beautiful and complicated one between Luke and Landon. This book is so multi-dimensional, it's honestly stunning.
If I could give six out of five stars I would. I want to tape everyone's eyes open and make them read this beautiful, heart-warming gift from the Gods, but that's probably a bit of an overreaction...maybe this review will do it.
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