Reviewed by Becca
TITLE: Who Loves You
AUTHOR: Emily Alter
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 216 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2017
For as long as Ben has been a YouTuber, and no matter how successful, he’s never been able to reveal the truth about his past, which seems to keep haunting him every time he tries to move on. His breakup with fellow YouTuber Owen Danniel, and the drama it ensues, don’t help make it better.
It’s because of an appointment with his primary doctor, and an unfortunate encounter, that his luck may start to change. His name is Julian Yates, he loves cheese, mushrooms, and puts anchovies in his sandwiches for reasons Ben can’t begin to fathom.
However, Julian has a history too, and things he wished stayed buried and didn’t crawl back to haunt him. Revenge porn, and his rather unfortunate response to the huge stir it brought about, don’t just go away. It doesn’t matter that he’s already moved to the other side of the country with his sister, or that his job as a hiking guide gave him the perfect excuse to go unnoticed.
When Julian fails to remember what can happen if he’s on camera for one of Ben’s vlogs, they’ll both have to face their biggest, sometimes most irrational fears. Will Ben be true to his word as a hopeless romantic and put Julian’s well-being above that of his channel, or will he give up on a relationship that’s barely started? What about Julian? Will he work on the unresolved issues that make him believe he’s only good for one thing, or will he clam up at the first sign of rejection?
I’m not quite sure what I think about this book. I have mixed emotions about it. It wasn’t bad but there were little things that irritated me. The use of pronouns was a big one. Not the ‘they’ reference, but the ‘hes’. It was so confusing sometimes with all the hes, that I often had to go back and re-read the sentence or the paragraph to understand who was who. That didn’t make me happy. But on the other hand, I really wanted to see what happened. Like I said, mixed emotions.
YouTuber Ben, has lived quite a few years ‘on screen’. He’s used to being in the public eye. It helped him to deal with his past. But the insecurities are piling up, especially when he has an on screen break up with his boyfriend, Owen. Owen immediately went on the defense, throwing insults and all kinds of trash Ben’s way on their channels, and that has made matters even worse. To the point he’s not sleeping again. He talks to his doctor about pills to help him sleep, and there he meets Julian, and his sister. As they get to know each other, Ben feels like this is it for him, but he knows there is something that is holding Julian back as well. They both have pasts they need to get beyond, and being the center of attention on the net brings things to a head. Julian knows he can’t hide his past about the porn and what happened and Ben has to learn it’s not always about the camera.
I liked both Julian and Ben. Both are recovering from pasts that haunt them and are so afraid to trust. Or hope that there really is someone out there that cares for them, the real them, warts and all. Ben’s relationship with Owen has left him even more hesitant with having everything put on display, and not in a good way. Ben is used to being in the spotlight but it was a way to cope with what he had to deal with growing up. Julian is used to being in the spotlight as well but not in a good way. Someone posted sex videos of him without his consent and six years later it’s still haunting him, even after he moved across the country. You can’t help but feel for both of them. I don’t know if I could ever put my life on display for anyone. I know I couldn’t. So to be that vulnerable in everyone’s sight is just horrendous. But there’s a chemistry there for them. The kisses are heated and full of passion and it’s beautiful to watch as they come out of their shells for each other. Both have agreed, though, to take things slow.
Pasts often have a way of haunting us, especially when they are not our best moments. I think this is a lot of what this book is about. Learning to overcome and move on. It’s hard. It’s hard to trust and believe that the person you are into, will be considerate of your feelings and things you’ve been through. But sometimes we just have to let go.