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As a young man, Dominic Jacobsen already suspects he’s gay, and he gets all the confirmation he needs when a rich boy from out of town climbs into the back seat of Dominic’s GTO. One night with Lamar Franklin is all it takes to convince Dominic he’s found the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, that one night is all he’ll get before Lamar returns to Tucson.
Fifteen years later Lamar returns to Coda, Colorado, after ending the latest in a string of bad relationships. He’s alone, depressed, and plagued by late-night phone calls from an unidentified caller. Lamar’s ready to give up when he comes face-to-face with his past.
Since he was seventeen, Dominic has dreamed of a reunion with Lamar, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready for it now. Facing small-town rumors and big-family drama is bad enough, but Dominic won’t risk losing custody of his teenage daughter, Naomi. The only solution is to make sure he and Lamar remain friends and nothing more. Clothes stay on, no matter what.
It seems simple enough. But for better or worse, Lamar has other ideas.
Shoot shoot shoot! It’s always a big bummer when you have high hopes for a book and it falls short; especially when it’s from a favorite author and a favorite series. I’ve always gobbled up the Coda boys, but this one was tough to swallow.
I loved shotgun riding in the GTO, toking shotgun with wild hormone driven nerves, and then another kind of shotgun completely warmed my heart. Even though….
I wanted to love this…I thought I would love this…I didn’t love this. *sad face*
It wasn’t necessarily one major thing that bothered me, but an accumulation of annoyances that dampened my enjoyment.
Things start off strong with a flashback to the past. Dominic is a hometown Coda boy and when a rare out of town stranger captivates him at a party, he confirms his questioning sexuality. Lamar rocks his world that night but slips away as if only a blissful dream. Both move forward with their lives but in very different directions.
Dominic buries his true heart and settles down with a girl, gets married and has a beautiful baby. As illusions always do, his grasp on his fabricated reality dissolves and he’s left with broken pieces of his life. Together with his brother he runs the family auto shop and awaits the day it is passed on. The axis of his world is his daughter. Everything he does revolves around her. I certainly appreciate a dedicated parent, but this was one of my niggles. I wanted to scream after the twentieth time that he pulled the “I have a daughter” excuse. It was overused and pushed me to an angry reader state, and I don’t like to read mad.
I was initially livid that Lamar was with a married man for 2 years, but my fumes settled when I found out how he was deceived and then, I merely felt sorry for him. But then there’s this other thing. I’d say it’s a little thing, but in reality it is a BIG FRICKING THING. I can’t tell you, but man I wish I could! I was so pissed at Dominic that I had to take a time out.
Another problem I struggled with was Lamar’s depression. In the beginning I was blown away with the authenticity of Lamar’s depression. But then, it just kinda floated away. Some huge blows hit Lamar’s mental solar plexus and he was barely fazed. It felt dismissive, as if the early importance of this battle for him had evaporated.
And then…then we have the narration.
I am still a work in progress when it comes to listening and enjoying audiobooks and this was a major setback. We are given multiple voices and some of them made me giggle, others forced my eyes to roll and some drove me nutty. Lamar is Texan but the accent was horrendous and not consistent. The female voices…were bad all the way around. I think it would have been slightly more enjoyable if I had read the story rather than listened.
As far as the writing goes, it was pristine. And then we have my highlights…the rest of the gang. Matt is a strong feature and I still adore this sexy cop, maybe even a little bit more. Jared, Angelo and Zach also have a solid amount of page time…this pleased me greatly. I missed Cole and Jon but loved the glimpse of Hope plastered on the refrigerator. The new characters didn’t do much for me. I tried to appreciate Dom’s family, but it was a struggle.
I hated the barren life Lamar was navigating and truly wanted his happiness. I’m just not sure Lego’s and a teenage crush with a major procrastinating problem is the answer. I’d like to be wrong here, I really would.
If you are a Coda fan, it’s a given…you must give this a shot. But take it from me, drop your expectations down a notch or two, it’ll be a smoother ride that way.