Reviewed by Carissa
AUTHOR: Ethan Day
PUBLISHER: Wilde City Press
LENGTH: 166 pages
Operation Danny… that’s all bartender and recent college graduate, Julian Hallowell has had on his mind the past year. Julian may have no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he definitely knows he’s in love with the boy next door: the one in the next room to be exact, his roommate Danny Wallace.
Danny owns a used text book store just off campus and while Julian has done his level best to make Danny fall for him, all his hard work appears to have been in vain. Danny doesn’t seem to view Julian as anything other than that… a roommate and friend. So when new guy in town Andy Baker asks him out on a date, Julian can’t seem to think of a good reason to say no.
Julian has already instituted a Reverse Operation Danny plan, which he’s positive will purge all thoughts of love and lust for his roomie out of his head. He’s ready to move on and start looking for his next Mr. Right, and Andy just might fit the bill. But has he given up too soon?
This was a cute story from Ethan Day. But it was more than cute, it was romantic, and heartbreaking, and several rollercoasters worth of emotional ups and downs. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me consider if it was possible to throw a fictional character to the sharks–’cause there is douchebaggery and then there is dickish douchebaggery of the most assholic kind, and I’m pretty sure I know which kind Danny threw himself into. I wasn’t expecting quite the journey I was taken on, and I enjoyed the surprise twists and turns.
I am in deep like with Julian. He may have some off-putting habits (dude, the pretty boys are not going to snog you if you start hacking up your lungs cause those cigs you are so fond of), but I love his attitude and his tenacity. And screw what other people say, I love romance and the idea that there is someone out there that one day you might be lucky enough to find and spend the rest of your lives together watching old movies and have wild monkey sex that makes the neighbors tut every time they see you. And I love that Julian believes in it too. Now it may not be practical–but it is a nice aspiration.
After all, who hasn’t fallen madly in love with someone that is probably going to end up breaking their heart into bite-sizes pieces, even if they don’t mean to? And boy, does falling for Danny mean there is always the inherent risk that Julian is going to go nuts…or throw himself at the first Andy he sees in the hope that he can stave off crazy for a few more months. I liked that Julian tried to get over Danny. Not very successfully, but he did try. And that does deserve some points. Even if the whole Andy thing was just a mess from start to finish.
And there is where I start to run into problems. I just really dislike cheating. It drives me up one wall and down the other. And even though I am fully behind Danny and Julian having passionate sex on every stable, and few non-stable, objects in their home…Julian was in a something with Andy when it happened and that just bugs me. And then, to decide not to tell him…let just say I wanted to start slapping people. Though, and I say this with a heart that was really rooting for team Danny, Danny deserved a slap, a punch, and a hard knee to the groin for what he did to Julian. I am not normally a violent person (despite what that whole last sentence seems to have implied very heavily) but goddamn, that was a messed up thing to do. I get why he did it, why he freaked out and went with crazy-stupid-ass plan A for how to eject oneself from out of harm’s way, but still low blow dude, low blow.
I also had some problems with the timing of this story. Mostly, just that whole middle section with the flashbacks to Julian’s grandmother’s funeral. The way it was placed, smack-dab in the middle of all that tension, just kind of killed the buzz for me. And really slowed the story down at a point where I kind of needed it to keep going. Maybe if it had been shorter, and more focused on the Julian/Danny aspects of the past, it would not have felt like some type of intermission, but even though I think we needed some of the information given to us there, how it was done lacked a little finesse. Also there were some points where I had trouble figuring out if we were back in the present or still hanging out in the past. Lengthy flashbacks are a bit of a pet-peeve with me, so if I must endure them I at least like to have a clear idea what is going on and why it needs to be said.
Still, it was a good story, and I really enjoyed reading it. Gabby was a great side-character and Julian’s mom was fun. Bossy and direct, but also very loving. Andy threw me for a bit of a loop, but I do hope he finds someone a little less Julian to shack up with. And despite my dislike of that whole debacle in the middle, what with the douchebaggery and the heartbreaking, I loved watching Julian and Danny, if not fall in love, at least wise the hell up and tell each other. Now all they have to do is convince Gabby to never ever cook anything ever again (though I think I was crying a bit, ‘cause I was laughing so hard when Danny and Julian finally got a chance to see the massacre in the kitchen). I stayed up till six am, laughed, cried, and growled angrily…so I think I can say this story was well worth the read.