Genre: Contemporary M/M
Plot: Henry Hofstadter doesn’t date. When he needs to get laid, he drives out of town, does the deed, and goes home. Maybe ten years ago he’d’ve mocked a guy who preferred canine company to another man’s, but these days his mutt Coco is his best friend and the highlight of his week is hanging out with his nephew. He doesn’t believe in happy endings. And no fairy tale ever began Once upon a time, an arrogant jackass blew me in the storeroom of a lousy club.
Math McKinney’s got a lot on his mind. He used to be a charming guy with a little bit of substance; these days he feels more like the guy still standing when everything around him is a smoking ruin. His ex is out of the country for the next year, his daughter thinks she’s his son, and his co-chair on the Committee for the Preservation of Community apparently hates him for, let’s be clear, no apparent reason. (Because that BJ was magnificent. MAGNIFICENT.)
Neither of them is looking for a boyfriend. Hell, neither of them is even looking for a one night stand. Yet somehow they keep ending up together and dammed if it doesn’t seem like that’s a sign.
Except…fairy tales are for children. Aren’t they?
Quick Review: Not going to lie, I love an awkward first encounter and those bumbling initial forays into a relationship. I adore when a beginning is not picture perfect and there’s a whole lot of give and take between characters. Henry and Math are not typical m/m pretty people. They are both unequivocally flawed and so human you can’t help but relate. They are actually one of the most realistic representations of a couple I’ve come across in the genre. Their first night of intimacy is abysmal, their daily interactions are painful, and it’s all so real that you’ll find yourself cringing. A lot. There are a lot of ups and downs on their path – Math has a trans daughter and is coming to terms with that while also dealing with a move to a new very small town; Henry has a past fraught with homosexuality hating and his daily life is a struggle. This story is ultimately one of growth and acceptance and I recommend it highly.
You’ll definitely enjoy: the realistic nature of their meeting and subsequent interactions are not to be missed; the inclusion of a trans character and the situations and revelations that result from that are so top-notch and nuanced; the sex goes from super awkward to hellaciously hot by the very end; the secondary characters kill it; the quietness of the book will be the balm to your overly angst-fed soul.
You might hate: this is a book where essentially nothing happens and when it does it’s pretty quick to culminate in a big life-changing event; all the awkward moments and as mentioned above, there are MANY; the sex is not sexy until about 2/3 of the way in; there is a lot of dialogue and moments unrelated to Math and Henry’s relationship which became a tad excessive for me; such a quiet read.