Though this New Adult M/M romance was an easy read, it was so honest and emotional that it tugged at my heartstrings and in some places seriously made me cry. It had just the right balance of angst, joy, and tenderness, and I completely sympathized with the main characters, Jonas and Tate. The novel also seemed to portray LGBT youth homelessness realistically and the dangers and fears LGBT youth face when they are out on the streets, struggling to survive.
Both Jonas and Tate learned to make compromises in order to survive their troubled childhoods. Jonas has been pretending he isn’t gay because he yearns for his wealthy, powerful, and emotionally abusive father’s approval. He doesn’t want to lose his family, and relies on them for financial support in order to finish college and get a good job. He desperately wants to make it on his own and is waiting for the day he can be independent. Tate on the other hand turned to hustling when he was a teen to help his family make ends meet. After his parents died and when Tate became an adult, Tate rescued his sisters from their foster homes and now takes care of them on his own with monitoring from a social worker.
When Jonas is involved in a college hazing prank gone wrong, his father pulls him out of college and sends him to live with his aunt and uncle to teach him a lesson. Jonas has lived a sheltered life, is horrible at math, and has never worked a day in his life. Because his father puts him down, he thinks he’s stupid and feels overwhelmed with his duties at his aunt’s thrift store across the street from the youth homeless shelter that Tate manages. When Jonas meets Tate, Tate introduces him to the gay community and helps him to accept his sexuality. As their friendship becomes physical, and then turns into love, Jonas gains confidence, finds the strength to be true to himself, and becomes a better person.
Their journey to love and happiness is complicated and at times heartbreaking, but they pull through together, inspire each other, and are stronger as a couple. The sex wasn’t just about sex but was more about intimacy and sharing and expressing their feelings. They also learned to trust and talk to each other about their secrets. I loved how they were there for each other, protected and took care of each other, and how the novel showed the true meaning of family, home, and love. I look forward to reading more novels in A.M. Arthur’s All Saints series.
*ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.