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Ben Cooper gave up on following his dreams to keep the peace in his family. Best friend Spencer Henderson has always been Ben’s rock. For Spence, who is in love with Ben, supporting Ben always came first, but as Ben starts to date their friend Suzie, Spence has to think of himself for the first time. The ramifications of one fateful night means leaving their small town may be Spence’s only option to protect his broken heart.
With trouble escalating at home and Spence out of reach, Ben finds it harder to cope. Without Spence’s help, Ben’s life may finally spiral out of control.
Here’s the thing … I really don’t enjoy writing negative reviews, especially for new authors. However, I have to also be honest about my reading experience.
Truthfully, this published debut by Nic Star feels disorganized. Scene after scene seems to be presented without good continuity and sometimes more like filler than making significant development to the story. One time we have the friends together, then Ben reminiscing about Spencer, then Ben having problems with his abusive father, then Ben thinking about going out to date Suze, and so on. Meanwhile Spencer is keeping his feelings to himself and makes assumptions on Ben’s feelings. It just feels choppy, and well, amateurish.
I don’t feel the connection of these characters. While Ben and Spencer are said to be best friends and Spencer has been in love with Ben all this time, it falls more on the “telling-not-showing” spectrum in my opinion. I would love for them to have more on-page time together, to show the change of feeling from Ben, and to show the ‘best friend’ situation. The thing is, I feel that Ben and Spencer spend more time with other people rather than being the best of friends.
I am also not a huge fan of the miscommunication and martyr (the “I do this because this is the best for you”) plot and how these men seem to make decisions mainly based on assumption. And lastly, the ending feels totally rushed and I’m not wholeheartedly convinced of it nor am I satisfied with it.
I like the secondary characters though – Spencer’s mother is lovely and the friends are great.
I do think this has the potential to be a good best-friends-to-lovers story. I don’t dislike it to the point that it makes me homicidal — which is why I am still willing to give 2.5 stars since my rating also refers to my reading experience (not just whether I like or dislike a story). This is more like the MEH story while my 2-stars or below rating are reserved for those I truly dislike or deeply disappoint me.
However, if I have to be blunt, quality wise, I’m afraid this is below my standard. It needs more polishing (and maybe better content editing) because this one just completely misses the mark for me.
Title: It’s Not Easy
Author: Nic Starr
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 23, 2014
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press