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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things I'll Never Say by M.J. O'Shea

Things I'll Never Say by M.J. O'Shea
Publisher: Republica Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 77 pages
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Sam's life sucks.

His best friend in the world is ditching him; moving out of state to go to college and leaving him behind with all the reminders of their childhood together. It hurts like hell but he doesn't know how to tell Ryan that he needs him to stay... without saying too much.

Ryan has no choice.

He's been in love with Sam for so many years he's afraid if he doesn't leave that he'll spend his whole life alone in love with someone he can never have... but of course Ryan can't tell his oldest and best friend that he's in love with him. It would ruin the most important thing in his life.

And then it happens. The amazing, wonderful, awful night that sends their relationship reeling - and ends in the worst way possible: with Ryan gone and Sam heartbroken and both of them miserable without the other.

Sam and Ryan have to fix it; they need each other too much to let their relationship die. But to do that, they'll have to find the courage to tell each other the truth about how they feel... to finally say those things they've kept to themselves for far too long.

True love never runs smooth, especially at eighteen. Sam and Ryan have been best friends since they met in school years ago. Now Ryan is heading out of state for college and Sam is looking at attending culinary school. Ryan is in love with Sam and convinced his best friend is straight while Sam is devastated Ryan is leaving. As the two spend every waking moment together before Ryan’s departure, Sam comes to realize his feelings for Ryan are definitely more than just friendship. But their first attempt at romance ends disastrously, sending Ryan off to school and Sam convinced their friendship is over.

Things I’ll Never Say is a coming of age love story between best friends turned lovers, Sam and Ryan. This is an incredibly romantic story about finding your soul mate as a kid and that changing into true love once older. Both Sam and Ryan are well characterized but they’re also very young and immature. Sam reacts horribly and childishly to the tone of Ryan’s innocent comment, which sends Sam into a tailspin. Although the story conveys the deep emotions of the two men, pining away for each other, loving the other with the certain hope nothing will ever come of it, the light touch to the writing helps keep this from being too cliché or annoying.

Romantics are likely to really adore and devour this story since it’s so sweet and harmless. It has a strong happy ending and gives both young men lives, interests, and an identity beyond their youthful longing for each other. Sam is a budding chef and Ryan is going to college so they’ll no doubt grow and mature naturally over the course of their lives. Their drama is mostly emotional as they despair over lost love and things they assume they could never have. The intensity of their emotions feels honest for their age, yet it’s sweet and engaging.

The solid writing creates a fun, interesting story that is incredibly sweet and romantic with flawed characters that are inexperienced and somewhat immature. That’s not surprising given their background and age so I doubt many readers will hold this against them. Imagine teenagers as they pour out bad poetry to high pitched ballads and this sets the tone but with a light hand that makes it enjoyable and not eye rolling. I easily recommend this to romance fans who I think will be highly satisfied with the story.

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