REVIEWED BY CINDY
TITLE: Holding On
AUTHOR: Sarah Hadley Brook
PUBLISHER: JMS Books LLC
LENGTH: 263 Pages
RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2017
Eighteen-year-old Aaron Pickard is dealing with a lot: he’s falling for his straight best friend, his mother has ended up in the hospital after a violent assault by his father, and he’s trying to decide when to come out. Tack on the stress of an upcoming prom and graduation, a part-time job, and the possibility he could lose his best friend, and he’s an emotional wreck.
Aaron’s best friend Jeff Leaton provides a soft place for him to fall when his life is thrown into chaos, literally holding him each night as they fall asleep. As Jeff helps Aaron navigate through the mess that has become his new normal, Aaron’s feelings for Jeff intensify.
Aaron’s pretty sure it’s all going to end badly, but he’s holding on to hope.
Aaron is a young man with a secret. Several actually. Being gay and in love with his best friend Jeff is making his life difficult but what his best friend doesn’t know is that Aaron’s father is an abusive asshole that has been making his family’s life miserable for years. It all comes to a head at the same time and Aaron isn’t sure how he’s going to survive it all.
I loved the premise of this book and I had high hopes for it, but they didn’t exactly pan out. The first three-quarters of the book is one “almost” moment after another and it got kind of annoying. Every single time Aaron and Jeff started to have a conversation about feelings, the phone rang or something else comes up and after about the 4th time it was just irritating. Also? I get the whole “he can’t care about me, can he?” questions but both of them were almost shouting their love from the rooftops and it was just too hard to believe that neither of them got.
The “mis-communications” were just too contrived and most of them just seemed to be inserted to add more drama that honestly wasn’t needed.
Jeff’s mom was pretty awesome and his grandparents brief interludes were nice. Aaron’s father, who’s the resident bad guy is pretty much just a stereotype.
There were some good emotional moments that had me tearing up and it did keep me reading so I could find out how it was going to end up. I hate not knowing the end of a story.
And to be honest, the sex was kind of over the top. It didn’t really add anything to the story and their expertise seemed to far outweigh their lack of experience. The story would have read as a pretty okay YA novel if not for that.
All in all, it’s not a bad story, and I’m sure that it will find an audience but it just didn’t pop for me.