Elements of this YA didn’t work for me but the love story is sweet

Holding OnHolding On by Sarah Hadley Brook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm, not sure what I thought about this one tbh.

On the one hand I liked the YA nature of falling for your first love but then there was SO MUCH DRAMA and – as it was in first person inside Aaron’s head – I’m afraid I didn’t find him sympathetic at all (when probably the intention was that I should).

Part of the problem for me personally was that there was just simply too much miscommunication/lack of communication. It’s a trope which drives me batshit crazy when it goes on too long.

On top of that, Aaron is dealing with a Hell of a lot. His father is a raging abusive alcoholic so there’s a domestic violence trigger warning needed all over this narrative. On top of that, the penny’s dropped that he’s definitely gay and he’s probably in love with his best friend Jeff.

Now Jeff, I mostly liked him but, again, there’s just too much wishy washy-ing around when he had a chance to say something – even with all the dramatic angsty going on in Aaron’s life – and chose not to.

The final bit is this is technically YA, so these guys are in their final year of High School before heading off to college. I believe that’s aged 18 (as it is here in the UK) and so they’re horny as anything – understandably – but I found the over abundance of sexual conversation, dirty talk and then actual sex once they got their acts together, read as if they were much older, more college age.

They’re 18, they’re just starting to experiment, the dialogue felt like two lads in their early 20s rather than two teenagers.

But, overall, it is at the heart of it, a really sweet falling in love with your best friend, story and I enjoyed that aspect of it a lot.

#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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