Take the Leap, by Kris Ripper
Series: New Halliday, Book 3 (Stand-alone)
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Neil Bierker is a little bit famous in New Halliday. Neil’s the kid who jumped off the bypass when he was sixteen. At twenty-seven, he’s a third grade teacher who manages his depression through running, boxing, and one night a week with Clem Robbins.
He can keep everything else in his life together, just as long as for a few hours a week it all falls away.
Clem wants more than one night a week. One night’s good; wouldn’t more be better? But he’s had three years of good sex with a man twenty years younger than him and he’s not about to blow it by asking for more, even if he thinks it’s what both of them want.
When Neil’s life begins to unravel, the last thing he wants to do is rely on Clem to keep him upright. Sometimes it takes a crisis to realize just how many people are on your side, and just what you’re willing to do to keep them there.
Gay M/M Romance
Mental Health (Depression)
Warning: Attempted Suicide
Kris Ripper is my go-to author when I want books with deep emotions and complex relationships, and Take the Leap delivers on all fronts! Here’s what I loved:
- Support systems. Neil lives a carefully structured life, putting supports in place to keep him going day-to-day in the face of often crippling depression. Seeing those systems– and seeing how Clem factors into that– was absolutely breathtaking. It’s a fascinating look into living with mental illness.
- The things that make you happy. Maybe that’s not what the point of the book was, but that’s what I took away: that you have to find the things that keep you upright, and focus on them. For Neil that’s his teaching, his friends, and Clem. And for Clem, it’s his diner and Neil.
- Intimacy. I’m not (just) talking sex, I’m talking about the close connection between two people. The way Neil has so much trust in Clem, and the way Clem treasures that trust. The fragile bond between them that slowly strengthens.
- The conflicts. I really respect a novel that includes mental illness, without being only about mental illness. There are professional struggles, issues with friends, with family. It makes this a novel about being human while also struggling with depression, instead of being a novel about depression.
But one issue stopped this from being perfect in my eyes:
- Deviations from the plot. They were minor and rare, but there were times where the novel veered from Clem and Neil’s story and left me floundering. The side-plots were explained well enough that you don’t have to have read the first two books, but it was more that it felt unnecessary… including these side-plots was interesting, but I either needed more or less information to feel satisfied.
If you’re a fan of Heidi Cullinan’s Nowhere Ranch, then you’ll definitely enjoy this novel, which also features a significant age difference, extremely well-written kinky sex, and the (one-sided) determination to have sex with no emotional attachment.
If you liked Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane, and are interested in another romance novel that approaches depression and attempted suicide with respect and care, then Take the Leap is definitely one to check out.
Basically, read everything by Kris Ripper! (Reviews tag.)
The Scientific Method Universe, which is kinky, poly, and absolutely fantastic. (My review of SMU #1.)
Little Red and the Big Bad (Erotica, Serial, M/M, Kinky)
The Home Series (Alternate Universe, Contemporary, Post-Slavery)
You can find more about Kris’ books on zir website: http://krisripper.com/. Also follow Kris on Twitter @SmutTasticKris.