Justin’s late father was a photographer and his mother is a mayor, conservative, with further political aspirations. He graduated from university with a degree that he didn’t want and now for the summer he’s going on a road trip, against his mother’s wishes, following some of his father’s journeys across the U.S., and he’s taking his best friend, Landry, with him. Landry is out of the closet, not single, tattooed, and pierced. Justin is none of those things and he doesn’t so much struggle with his sexuality as he ignores it, but he’s been in love with Landry for some time.
I immediately hoped that there was some pre-existing trouble brewing between Landry and his boyfriend, because while I’ve kind of gotten used to the idea that a couple can recover after cheating, I’m nowhere near being okay with a couple getting together after cheating. If not trouble, then I thought I would settle for the boyfriend not actually existing.
I took a particular shine to the latter option once I read that Landry met him online and Justin had never met him, but then that seemed too easy.
Close quarters is never good for restraint and when Justin can’t cope with his feelings and all the pressure and frustration he’s barely enduring when it comes to his future, he lashes out at Landry. After some serious tension, Justin comes out to Landry and that’s predictably followed by mutual masturbation. But I didn’t really get that. Justin confessed that he was gay, but he never expressed that he liked Landry–to Landry, that is. I get that a lot of stories would follow the path leading to the whole crashing of the bodies thing, but there’s just this missing piece, the one where Justin says or even hints at him wanting Landry–to Landry.
Missing piece aside, Landry didn’t just fall into Justin. Instead, he wanted to take time to figure out where their relationship stood. I was glad that Landry wasn’t so easily swayed from his hesitation and kept Justin at a distance and even snapped at him on occasion.
Both Justin and Landry were inexperienced in regards to sex, so them not jumping straight into penetrative sex was a good thing, because what does a virgin really know? They worked up to it with handjobs and blowjobs, and just exploring each other. There should be more of this in stories.
The confession was only the beginning, though, and it was a roller coaster from there to the end. Landry was blogging their road trip and posting images and their uni mates were commenting and you can kind of see the progression of their relationship reflected in Landry’s tone. Justin’s mother was was also following–monitoring is more like it–the blog because anything her son did could be held against her in a court of politics.
Overall the story was pretty good and I was glad that Erickson made attempts to detour from the typical path of the friends-to-lovers/secretly in love stories, though there are two things I’d like to comment on. First, there was an Oregon Trail joke at the beginning and it was cute. But I would have written it differently so it wasn’t so obvious that Erickson was trying to make sure that readers got the reference.
Second, and this really bugged me and took me out of the story for a while. I was perplexed as to why Erickson thought that Justin and Landry having a conversation about how much they have loved each other since they were younger and coming to terms with that was “gay.” They were talking about how regardless of whether or not the other knew what their feelings were and regardless of whether or not they admitted to it and Landry says this was the gayest conversation that they’ve ever had. I don’t get what’s so gay about that. If you change the gender of one of them, it’s still the same conversation, so I was a little puzzled and very disappointed with that.
Having read this, I can kind of see where Erickson’s hand is in the cute exchanges in the Cyberlove series she’s working on with Santino Hassell. I loved both installments in the series and since I’m just about read up on all of Hassell’s work, I figured I’d give her solo work a try. I went for this one because I saw the stock image on the cover some time ago and used it as a reference for a KagaKise fanart my friend did for me. But I also chose it because her other stuff is M/F and I don’t think I’m ready for that.
Trust the Focus is the first in a series, though this one seems to connect to the others only by way of the focus/camera theme. It was a pretty decent story, but didn’t really inspire me to continue. Particularly because I paid for it since it wasn’t available on Kindle Unlimited. The later books seem interesting and I assume her skill was refined along the way, so I’m not totally crossing her or the series off the list, but just not now.