Dylan is forced to come out after his secret relationship with Ellis is exposed on social media, but to his surprise, everyone is really supportive - or appears to be. But Dylan's and El's happiness is short-lived, and following a tragic accident, Dylan begins to realize how little he knows about the boy he loves or those closest to him.
Content warning: cancer, physical and sexual abuse
This is one of those books that leaves a lasting impression and takes you through the full range of emotions. It's a moving, own-voices story of grief and love.
I usually struggle with books about grief but the past/present structure allowed for plenty of happiness and levity in between the heartbreaking scenes of loss. It allows the reader to see the loveliness of El and Dylan's relationship in the past, as well as following the story of grief and the intriguing mystery in the present.
The first-person narrative is incredibly raw and believable. It draws you right in and feels like you experience everything alongside Dylan.
The whole book deals with really difficult subject matters, but it does it with real compassion and warmth. This is a brilliant, thought-provoking novel that feels like a snapshot of a real life.
Thank you to Usborne for the Netgalley ARC!
If you like the sound of this novel, try And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando.