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GUEST READER REVIEW: “Thirty Things” by Cate Ashwood

Guest Review

Boys in our Books welcomes GABY with a Guest Reader Review


All their lives, Finn and Nate have been inseparable, sharing everything, and when a childhood accident left Finn broken, Nate stood by his side as all his other friends left. After all their years together, there’s one secret Finn still hasn’t revealed: he has been in love with Nate since they were eight years old. Hiding his feelings for twenty-one years—terrified of what might happen if Nate ever found out—has been difficult, but losing his best friend would be worse than living with a bad case of unrequited love. Unfortunately for Finn, Nate doesn’t make it easy.

Nate believes there are some things that just have to be done before your thirtieth birthday. As a gift to Finn, he plans an adventure to check off a list of thirty things to experience before hitting that milestone. Starting in Crawfordsville, Indiana, they tour the country, trying new things and meeting interesting new people. Nate’s having the time of his life, but he can tell Finn is holding something back. As the days count down, navigating the back roads suddenly seems easier than figuring out where their relationship is heading.

One thing’s for certain. There will be no turning back.


This story is sweetness overload and completely angst free. Nothing really goes wrong, and more than once I found myself smiling to myself because I’d read something that was too cute for words. I LOVED that the MC’s know how to communicate. There are misunderstandings, they struggle, but they find a way, and somehow fix it. This was great for two reasons 1) It was a nice change in the narrative; 2) It speaks about the friendship they have, and it makes it more real.

Nate and Finn have been best friends since they were kids, and now they share an apartment. They’ve been flatmates for some time now.

When Finn was around 8 years old he had an accident. This accident damaged his legs, and since then he’s walked with a limp. Nate never left Finn’s side. He was always there for him, supporting him, and encouraging him.

The story is told in the voice of soon to be 30 Finn, who has been in love with Nate since they were kids. I enjoyed Finn’s voice. I enjoyed seeing the world through his eyes, and seeing Nate through him was a lovely experience.

One day Nate comes from work with a surprise for Finn: he’s taking him on a road trip, and he has a list –  a list of things that he wants them to experience together – things like go camping, go to a rodeo, sleep in a tree house, and all these things happen in different a different State.  This was quite lovely, really. Ever since you read this you just know that Finn’s love isn’t unrequited as he thinks. The way Nate treats him leaves no doubt that there may be a bit more of plain friendship on Nate’s side.

I liked Nate. I loved how he was always there for Finn. I loved how thoughtful and caring he was. But I what I loved the most is that the way he took care of Finn wasn’t over protective. He always tried to give Finn the freedom to do, he encouraged his independence, but at the same time stood there, by his side, just in case.

I also loved Finn – his insecurities, his dreams, his humor, and the way he sees the world. I loved his unconditional love for Nate, and I loved how he kept reminding himself that no matter how much he loved Nate, he was his best friend first. Always. I don’t know if I believe this is entirely possible in real life, but I enjoy it in books.. Haha.

I loved seeing the transition from friends to lovers. The tenderness between them was a treat to read.  I enjoyed their dynamic, and I enjoyed how good they really were for each other. There was real, deep friendship between them and it reads through every single page of the book.  I loved that there was no big fuss with that first kiss. See, Finn is gay, openly gay, but Nate is bi, closeted bi – Or so I deduced, it was a bit confusing -. It was great to see two men who felt so comfortable with each other that when things happen they don’t question them, they just live them.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the memories that are brought into the story in every chapter. They illustrated perfectly their friendship, and the bond they shared.

The writing is nice. There is a lot of description of places, and most of the time it was nice to read it, but at times it felt a bit too much.  I definitely read about places I’d like to know one day.

I liked the MC’s, but I think they don’t sound like men in their late 20’s – early 30’s, I think they sound younger, like in their very early 20’s. This isn’t bad. I just found it a bit weird. Also, I think they were too perfect, especially Nate.

The one thing that really caused me trouble is that I feel like it doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone, or how close you’ve been to someone, you still need time to adjust. However beautiful and lovely their story is, I don’t think they were prepared for that ending. Not yet. I wish I could have seen them going back home and live the struggle that comes after the honeymoon phase. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be in the minority about this, though.

There is also Finn’s doubts about Nate’s feelings and where they stood. They were best friends, and yet he was afraid of asking. This troubled me, on one side I could understand his fear, but on the other hand I wondered why was so difficult to ask if this was the person he trusted the most. With this comes the other thing: They never once talked about Nate’s sexuality before the trip, even when Nate had known for some time that he was attracted to Finn.

All in all I enjoyed this book. I’d never read anything by Cate Ashwood before, and I will definitely be reading more of her work. I have no idea if this will be continued as a series, but if it is I would definitely read the next books as well.




25004666Title: Thirty Things
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 210
Release Date: April 3, 2015
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner, Amazon, ARe

One comment on “GUEST READER REVIEW: “Thirty Things” by Cate Ashwood

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    October 28, 2015

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This entry was posted on April 6, 2015 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Guest and tagged , , , .

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