Author Name: Sloan Johnson
Publication Date: February 2015
You can’t choose who you fall in love with. Despite knowing from a young age that he was gay, Scott Murphy couldn’t imagine life without Shelly. He threw away the labels and had eleven amazing years with her, but now, he feels even more lost trying to figure out how to move on after Shelly’s death. After nearly a year of watching Scott fade away, Shelly’s father forces him to start living again.
As much as Chris loathes the idea of attending a bereavement group week after week, it’s one of the only places he can go in this town, other than the bar, to not feel so alone. When there’s nothing to distract him or dull his senses, he spends too much time obsessing over how he should have been able to help his sister. When Scott shows up at his group session, Chris decides that maybe some good can come out of his sister’s death.
There’s no denying that Chris is the first man to catch Scott’s attention in a long time, but how can he move on when just thinking of Shelly sends him to his dark place?
The road to recovery won’t be an easy one, but Chris is determined to help Scott see that life is still worth living. But before Scott can allow himself to admit what he feels for Chris, he knows he has to reveal the full truth about Shelly’s death.
This book is very well-written. I love how it comes together, and I feel it is very inspirational. Although there is a lot of pain in this book it shows as long as you push through you can be happy again.
I also love how it shows the importance of not giving up on people you love just because they try to push you away. Not to give up on life because even when you feel you cant go on, if you push through it, there is a chance you will be happier than ever before.
Although this book is full of broken people they all come together to make each other whole again. They won’t ever be the same but they learn how to live, and smile and be truly happy again despite what they have been through.
I really like Ms. Johnson’s writing style–it’s excellent. Although I found that the story dragged a bit for my preference, it’s well-written and that’s more personal taste than anything else. Other readers would enjoy the pacing of the book more than I did. The emotional drama was also a bit much for my preference, but again, others would love it. The strictly romance aspect of the book is what a lot of people want.
For me, though, it was the characters who fell flat. Scott and Chris felt as though they could be the same person, and they were generic examples of men. There was nothing that stood out as unique or interesting. Even Scott’s supposed “bisexuality” was a bit of a disappointment. I really felt like his self-reflection could have been expanded on to round him out as a person. Bi men already feel erased in queer lit, and many are put off by a plotline of “a gay man who happens to fall in love with a woman.” It felt more like a flaw in character development than anything else.
I was also disappointed that Shelly’s ghost disappeared partway through and didn’t return. That was a quirky angle I enjoyed and missed when it was gone; it made for faster pacing and a bit of extra insight.
The one big thing I really loved was the grieving and healing. It’s relatable and it was interesting how every single person in the story viewed the process differently. Readers should be forewarned, though. That aspect might be either really hopeful or really triggering, depending on the person.
Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s body. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.
When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.
Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?
Now, Sloan is a tattooed, purple haired mom of two kids, one of which was a thank you present to her husband for letting her get a Staffordshire Terrier with more anxiety issues than Sloan has, which is saying something. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself in a good book and forget that she has somewhere to be.