Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.8 / 5 stars)
Ryan has been desperately in love with Nakoa for years. But Nakoa is a mess; an addict, self-loathing, and cynical, Nakoa holds onto his past and believes Ryan is only holding onto some selfish desires. For ten years though, Ryan has held out for Nakoa. But, with new opportunities emerging and friendships being torn away, Ryan needs to decide if he should continue holding out for Nakoa or move on with his life.
Wonderfully written, Reese Weston plants us in Ryan and Nakoa’s life. We wrap ourselves in Ryan’s emotions, riding on his anxieties over Nakoa as well as his nonchalance and uncertainties about most other things in his life. This paints an accurate picture of how an all consuming love for someone – or something – can dominate a person’s life. Many of us have felt this before: experiencing unrequited love, feeling heart broken, or swearing life is falling a part. Weston rides on this emotion throughout the story, and the readers will latch onto these feelings.
While the story itself is wonderfully written and keeps the reader engaged, personally it wasn’t for me. The toxicity of Nakoa’s and Ryan’s relationship bothered me, and for the most part I hoped that Ryan would give up on Nakoa and find someone else. There was an obsessive nature to it, and while other characters often pointed out how unhealthy it was, they frequently were cast in the antagonistic role. While this is completely realistic to how someone in Ryan’s position might react, I never saw that growth in Ryan. In fact, I still didn’t know much about Ryan by the end of the book…just that he was in love with Nakoa.
This may be due to how the story is fundamentally about Nakoa: it’s about his struggles with addiction, his emotional uncertainty, and coming to terms with his past. Ultimately, it is Ryan love and their deep connection that helps him change though. This is one trope that I’ve never really enjoyed. While yes, it is realistic for love from a significant other or a friend to initiate change, to have Nakoa suddenly transform after years of holding back because of Ryan felt somewhat like a cop-out. Some people will enjoy this transformation though, especially if they are fans of the trope where love cures the deepest wounds.
Despite the story being a tad repetitive though, it did keep my attention and kept me wrapped in Ryan’s emotions. Even if the story wasn’t for me, Weston’s writing was impressive overall.
So if you want a 10-year-long slow burn with drama, desperation, and close friendship, check this book out. The writing will capture you and before long, you’ll be deep in Ryan’s feelings for Nakoa as well.
What’s it about?
Sometimes, Ryan still feels like he’s sixteen, sitting in a classroom staring at the marks on Nakoa’s arms, trying to figure out the enigma of a young man slumped in the desk next to him.
Ten years, they’ve known each other, and Ryan wonders how much of Nakoa he really knows. Ten years, Ryan’s been in love with him, and still, Nakoa’s holding his truths hostage.
So does Ryan. He’s been in love with Nakoa for ten years, but the words have never passed Ryan’s lips. He might not know it, but Nakoa’s the most important thing to Ryan. Even if it means wanting for more for the rest of his life, Ryan’s content to keep things as they are, afraid pushing at all will push Nakoa over the edge completely and he’ll never see him again.