True Colors by Anyta Sunday
Published by: Self-published
Genre: contemporary romance, mm
Reviewed by: Sara Beth
What to Expect: a poignantly penned second chance romance: best friends, to enemies, to better friends, to lovers.
Plot: Oskar used to be Marco’s best friend. His everything. His sunshine yellow.
But that was before. Before Marco stopped being a hot jock. Before he learned to live with scars and pain. And before Oskar tore their friendship apart.
Now the boy next door has returned home, determined to rekindle his friendship with Marco, and Marco’s more afraid than ever. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being humiliated.
Afraid of falling in love.
Can Oskar find a way through Marco’s fear, back into his heart?
Review: This book was quite hard for me to finish and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to. Mostly, it was because I became so emotionally entangled in Marco and Oskar’s story that tweeting about it alone with buddy readers would not suffice. I found myself putting it aside and taking deep breaths, sometimes so angry I could spit **tweeting helped** or so touched I just needed a minute **tweeting helped here, too**.
Creating a bond this strong between the reader and your story is no small thing. Sunday has a unique ability to render her characters so true, so genuine, and so relatable, that when they struggle, the reader struggles, and when they succeed, the reader feels that rush, too.
We feel all of it, just as intensely as the person on the page does – from Marco’s sharp sense of betrayal when Oskar fails him in a moment of insecurity, to Marco’s remorse even seven years after the fact, to their fumbling attempts at reconciliation and forgiveness.
For Marco and Oskar, it’s clear that everything between them is eventual, and no amount of pain, time or distance will keep them apart in the end. And there is plenty of angst to navigate in order to secure a future together. The author gives the story enough time to let the hurt between these two resolve in a way that is both believable and acceptable for me. There is no insta-solution to the very real issues that lie between Marco and Oskar, but there is a very real affection, chemistry, and love that evolves over time into a connection that, in the end, is as innocent and true as what they lost as children. It was a dynamic that kept me invested in the story until its very last page.
What you might not like/doesn’t work for you: Um. You might initially hate Oskar. Okay, you really need to give him a chance. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will just say this – at one point, I hated Oskar so much that the story almost didn’t work for me, and I had to have a good friend remind me a.) he’s not real and throwing the f bomb around about him would change nothing and b.) we all do stupidly hurtful things when we’re young that we can’t possibly understand the repercussions of. So – yeah. Give him a chance to make amends. He pulls it off.
What you will love: Two things. First, Sunday has previously used devices to reveal how a character thinks and/or perceives things. In this case, Marco uses colors to catalogue his feelings. It’s cleverly done, and makes evoking an emotion poignantly simple. Second- Marco. I love him, with all of his stubbornness, kindness, patience, resentment, fear, and humor. He’s awesome.
Sara Beth loves to read, write about what she reads, and really, really loves to talk about what she’s reading. So, she looks forward to many hours of conversation with you all surrounding books, books, and more books. Connect via: Twitter: @sarathebeth