Reviewed by Cinnamon
TITLE: After the Romance Novel
SERIES: Before… and After Book 1
AUTHOR: Susan Laine
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 63 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 22, 2017
Romance novels always end with a happy ever after. Right?
Evan and Adam are best friends, but they don’t know everything about each other. For one thing, Adam doesn’t know Evan writes and publishes gay romance novels until he discovers one while snooping on Evan’s laptop.
This revelation changes their relationship in ways neither could’ve imagined. Adam’s reaction to reading Evan’s stories is not what he expected, nor is the new way he’s looking at his lifelong pal. After all, Adam is straight, or so he’s always thought, and that is what Evan believes about Adam as well.
When Evan admits he might be bisexual, Adam suggests he try dating girls to find out for sure, but when Evan follows his advice, Adam is caught off guard by his feelings of jealousy. And when the date proves Evan isn’t bisexual, but gay, Evan’s request that Adam find him a guy might be the last straw.
How can Adam admit he wants that guy to be him? His epiphany will either end their relationship—or change it into something wonderful in their very own friends-to-lovers romance.
After the Romance Novel is a sweet, new adult short story about two 17 year old best friends who discover new feelings, new attractions in their lives and try to adjust their relationship accordingly. This book is the first in the Before… and After series and I picked this book because of the gorgeous cover and its intriguing title.
We get to know that Evan and Adam have been best friends forever and their dynamic takes a serious turn when Adam discovers that Evan writes gay erotic romance novels. After reading some of his best friend’s books and getting hot and bothered by his physical reaction to the sexy scenes, Adam is evaluating his feelings towards his best friend. This story tells us what happens to Adam and Evan’s relationship next (hence the title). I really enjoyed the first part of the story when we get to know these two guys, and witness how Adam realizes his new feelings.
Best friends-to-lovers is my absolute favorite trope. I was pretty excited to see what happens with Adam and Evan. They are both young and inexperienced but had a fun journey of self-discovery while they were trying to decide what to do with their friendship next. I am aware of the limitations of a short story and know that it’s not easy to give depth and real feels to the characters but I think the writer did a decent job here. However, Evan’s confusion seems real and his hesitation and then change-of-heart is a bit confusing for me. The ending also seems a bit rushed and abrupt. It might be intentional, and we get a happy for now story and possible sequels in the future.