This is Part One of a two-part review. You can find part two, Mel’s review, here!
Where We Left Off, by Roan Parrish
Series: Middle of Somewhere, Book #3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 26, 2016
Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.
For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.
But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.
HFN (Happily For Now)
I flat-out adored Leo from the first book in this series, so to say I was excited about this release is an understatement. The first thing I noticed is that College Edition Leo is less sassy and a little less sure of himself than the kid from In the Middle Of Somewhere. But that’s to be expected; he’s a 19 year old from a small town who’s about to start school in New York City, where his crush (ha!) Will lives. And worst of all, he has no idea how things stand between them since they last saw each other over a year ago.
The book is written in Leo’s POV so his life as an NYU student plays a major role. Having been a foreign student in a major US city myself, I totally related to Leo and I enjoyed those parts of the book immensely, even the seemingly mundane aspects of dorm living and first year probs. Because with every turn of the page, we learn a little bit more about Leo as he discovers things about himself and the world around him.
You see, something magical happens in the narrative as Leo splits his time between mooning over Will and adjusting to his new life. His growing fascination with physics, astronomy, and even yoga start coloring the way he sees the world – from routine observations to more profound concepts – in terms space and time, and energy and gravity. It sounds lame when I describe it, but there’s real beauty in the way it lends a kind of poetry to Leo’s narrative and subtly transforms the language of the book.
I was so aware of Will’s body in space, could feel his warmth even when he wasn’t touching me, like a slight electrical charge in the places between us. I hadn’t exactly felt untethered in the time since I’d seen him, but now I slid back into his orbit as easily as breathing.
Leo’s pursuit of Will was at times endearing, sometimes awkward and mostly a complete disaster. In other words, I found it pretty realistic, seeing as the two men (one hopeless romantic and the other a borderline misanthrope) 1) don’t have much in common, 2) are in different stages of their lives and more importantly 3) want completely different things in terms of relationships. Will’s character is unyielding, disagreeable and absolutely not kidding when he says he doesn’t want a relationship. Nevertheless, there’s an intensity to their interactions and an undeniable chemistry under the confusion that left me breathless and bewildered – so you can only imagine what it did to poor Leo.
“Can we…?” He held his arms out tentatively, and I went into them like gravity.
I should probably warn readers that the book explores the idea of alternate relationship models – not surprising when Will is flatly opposed to romantic relationships and Leo is well, in college broadening his horizons. Romance purists might take issue with certain turn of events, but I personally found the narrative refreshing and realistic – and frankly for me, essential to Leo’s character growth. It made their coming together so much more satisfying and believable when they finally decide to give things the old college try.
For me, the book ended on a perfect note with a HFN. Not that I don’t see them spending the rest of their lives together – I actually do. But one thing I learned from Leo’s story is that it’s perfectly okay to still be figuring things out and live in the now.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for an out-of-the-box romance and has no strict notions of “the perfect relationship.”
ROAN PARRISH lives in Philadelphia. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
You can purchase Where We Left Off from:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.