…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Cheerful and friendly, Aaron Blake has never met a puzzle that intrigues him more than brooding Greg Falkner. He wants to get to know his roommate, but it seems the only way past his shell is through it. When a reluctant friendship turns into a budding romance, can the two keep their feelings secret from their classmates? Or will their newfound love destroy them both?
So goes the story screenwriter Greg Falkner spins for audiences and his longtime partner, Aaron Blake, in No Apologies. Loosely based on their lives together, the film rocks Hollywood with its blatant portrayal of two teenagers falling in love and coming of age in a world that struggles to accept them, while they in turn struggle to accept themselves.
At the end of the evening, will Greg’s risky venture break a relationship that’s already foundering? Or will the real life Greg and Aaron also find their happily ever after with no apologies?
There was a lot to like in this book. And then a lot that annoyed me. So, I’m struggling…
The premise is interesting. Greg and Aaron are a classic enemies-to-lovers story. They met in high school, each bringing with them their own baggage, and their lives intertwine for over 10 years. As characters, I found myself completely invested in their journeys. As they build their friendship with each other. As they discover and explore their sexual chemistry. As they are bullied and attacked at school for their relationship. As they figure out how coming out affects their lives. As they leave behind family baggage to start anew. As they grow together as adult men.
But there’s a catch: When we first meet Greg and Aaron, they’re adults (present-day). Greg is a screenwriter, Aaron a movie producer. And their tale, starting from when they were high school boys, is actually told through Greg’s latest movie release, “No Apologies”, a semi-autobiographical love letter to Aaron.
This would seem kind of a cool twist. But I found it rather disappointing to be honest.
As the curtain is pulled back between fact and fiction, all the little things, though seemingly minor, made me, the reader feel…betrayed? Misled? I grew to love Greg and Aaron as their story was told on page (or on screen, as it’s played out in the book). Come to later find that those details were modified for the “movie version” and weren’t all entirely factual. And this wasn’t revealed until much later in the book, after I’d already invested myself in what I believed to be the facts. And it was thrown in there in such a nonchalant way…”oh your grandma who I came to love and adore didn’t actually exist and it was actually your grandpa?” ?????? Not cool…
I think it was a risky creative move for the book and for me, it didn’t work. I don’t mind the flashback method of telling a story, but add in the additional ‘movie’ angle and having not all the details be authentic, well, as I mentioned, I felt a bit misled. I questioned at the end if I really knew Greg and Aaron at all (<-god, that sounds melodramatic…but that is what I wondered…)
I also would say that one of my least favorite scenes in any romance is when one dominant lover commands the other to “come” during sex and he does…just like that. I can tolerate it once…but it happened over and over and over again in this book and I wanted to scream, “it’s NOT that easy, dude!” The come-on-demand thing started to really irritate me.
Ok, so despite all this, I really do like Greg and Aaron…well, the parts I think are the real Greg and Aaron and not the movie characters. And I’m actually interested enough to read on to book 2. I don’t know that I’d recommend this book on it’s own, but plenty of series that I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy as a whole had rocky starts in their first books. So, I’ll keep on and let you know if the series is worth the investment…