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Quiet and imaginative, Derek O’Reilly spends a lot of time watching a movie in his head. His fiancé Nathan, aka “Mr. Alpha”, wonders why Derek hasn’t taken any interest in their wedding planning. Aunt Fran—his spiritual guru—would like to know when her guilt-tripping nephew became some kind of kept boy. One evening, she drops Derek’s childhood journal on his lap, forcing him to remember the name he’s been trying to forget since he was eleven years old. Nicolai Lund.
Nick was Derek’s neighbor—and first love.
Weeks before Derek’s engagement party, a chance meeting with Nick catapults Derek into the past. Nick could flood Derek’s stale existence like a blond tidal wave, but Nick isn’t that sixteen-year-old rebel anymore. He’s a man hardened by invisible scars.
As Derek reads through his diary, Nick and Derek’s powerful relationship sways between past and present, sweeping over their emotional landscape, revealing what they were, still are, and might yet be to each other.
One of my fellow bloggers here at BioB recently confessed that she’s not a blurb reader. GASP! I think I may have called her a liar, loudly and with offense! ;-) I’m a blurb girl ‘til the day I die. Sometimes during the course of a book I may read a blurb two or three times.
So let’s cut to the nitty gritty: this blurb sucks. It doesn’t do the book justice. Split is so much more intense, so much deeper than what you’re led to believe by reading the words above. With that in mind, behold my revised synopsis:
Derek O’Reilly is at a crossroads. He’s in a relationship with Nathan, a self-absorbed pharmaceutical sales rep who’s more concerned with the brands on his back and where he lives than he is with Derek’s wellbeing. Derek is quiet, introverted and loyal to the point of self-destruction.
When Nathan asks Derek to marry him, Derek accepts, but a heart-to-heart with Derek’s beloved aunt Fran stirs memories Derek hasn’t faced for more than 17 years. Reflecting on his thoughts and feelings from a long forgotten journal forces Derek to realize he’s still not over his childhood love, Nick.
Memories of Nick flood Derek’s stale existence like a tidal wave. But Nick isn’t a sixteen-year-old rebel anymore; he’s a man hardened by invisible scars. As Derek reads his old diary, Nick and Derek’s powerful relationship sways between past and present, revealing what they were, still are, and might become to each other.
Yep, that’s much better.
*pats self on back*
So with all of the above in mind, you should know you’re going to have to have patience. The build, the angst, the connection, the feels: Split is full of it all. The journey through Derek’s childhood is touching and sweet and awkward and so spot on.
I relished Split’s jumps in time, from the family tragedy that shaped Derek’s childhood, to his bond with his best friend Boone, to his acceptance of his paralyzing attraction/eventual love for Nick, to Derek’s approach with and handling of Nick’s inner turmoil.
Just writing this review makes Split seem like too much to process, but Bossa makes it work beautifully, smoothly, flawlessly. Split was a perfect, haunting read, and I’m deliriously happy with how things ended. Don’t be fooled: that doesn’t mean what you think. I discovered there are two more books after this one, and I’ve purposely decided to not read them because I’m content to leave Derek and Nick to their fate at the end of Split. At any rate, I LOVED this book, and I can’t wait to try more Mel Bossa work in the future!
Author: Mel Bossa
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Purchase Links: Amazon