Sunset Park, by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs, Book Two (Stand-alone)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend, so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.
David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation, since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.
Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.
I was waiting until I’d read this a second time before writing my review, because otherwise this would just be five hundred repetitions of “omg #rayvid” interspersed with occasional pictures of Juan Forgia (the super sexy cover model).
I didn’t know I could love the Rodriguez brothers more than I did after reading Sutphin Boulevard, but then Santino went and wrote Sunset Park and pretty much broke me into tiny incoherent pieces. Raymond and David are– dare I say it?– even more addictive and compelling than Michael and Nunzio, and their friends-to-lovers relationship alternated between scoring hot and hilariously blasé, keeping me hooked on every word.
Also, the way Santino writes Raymond’s bisexuality makes me wish I could give this book about twenty stars more. Because YES PLEASE MORE OF THIS.
“The night before we talked about the moving thing, Nunzio busted me watching gay porn.”
David glared at me. “You’re so full of shit.”
“Why would I make up something like that?” I braced my hands against his throat and mimed choking him. “I confess my bi-curiosity and you call me a liar?”
And of course, nothing is ever easy in a Santino Hassell novel. The fairy tale romance takes a lot of sweat, tears, and booze, and tempers (and passions) run high. But that’s what I love about the books; there might be angst and misunderstandings and characters so bull-headed that you want to chuck them off the Empire State Building (David, I’m looking at you), but you know that the end result will be worth every ounce of effort.
I’m going to go re-read Sunset Park for the third time. If you haven’t picked this one and Sutphin Boulevard up yet, you really should. I mean, go. Now.