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Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.
Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.
But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.
I recall a big hoopla for this book two years ago. I bought it, failed to read it before the holidays, therefore it was set aside. Then again last December I meant to read it again. Annnd, the new year came before I had a chance to read it so I neatly tucked it into my holiday collection folder unread….again. I FINALLY read it this year and I’d kick my own bum if I wasn’t in such a happy book buzz. Happy. This book makes my heart so damn full, I’m afraid it might burst. Heartitist. It’s a real thing and Amy Lane gave it to me.
I believe what makes this story so exquisite is the purity it contains. Rusty is by far one of the brightest young men I’ve ever met. He shines from the inside out. Course he would disagree but his innocence is too charming to find bothersome. Oliver is without a doubt the most patient and kindhearted boy in the entire world. I adored how well he knew Rusty and that he was resolute with their future. The love they share is radiant, all-consuming and unforgettable. I was swept away with their story and imagine you will find it just as remarkable, that is if you are one of the few and far between readers that haven’t read their story yet.
Rusty is the boy who has it all, at least that is what outsiders see. And then we have Oliver, the boy who has nothing, or does he? Life teaches us many lessons, and appearances can be deceiving is one I’ve yet to forget.
Rusty is drawn to Oliver and though Oliver doesn’t truly require protection, he wants to protect him. It doesn’t take long and without questioning why, he calmly places Oliver in the center mass of his heart. He is so caught up in his new found state of euphoria, that he doesn’t notice he’s fallen in love. As the world tries to convince him to ‘declare a sexuality’ he studiously remains undeclared. Kudos to Lane for highlighting the vast and flexible realms of sexuality identifications. It takes a bit, but Rusty confirms that he is ‘Oliver-sexual’ and *giddy dance* this was one of the hidden gems in this story.
First and foremost, Rusty and Oliver were my favorite components of this tale. However, it wouldn’t be Amy Lane if it wasn’t glorious writing and a kick-ass cast of secondary family. Family. So much revolved around family and the power to choose your own. Rusty may have lost his parents but it appears he never had much to lose. Oliver gives Rusty everything he has; his family, his heart and his body. Rusty may be starting over but he realizes most material things can become optional if necessary. What’s truly essential is a partner who loves you. He can do anything with Oliver by his side.
Coming out, coming of age, and *grins* cuming too. I could babble and rattle on and on and on…but I want you to discover the magic in this story.
Please, allow me to share the joy…if you only read one holiday book this year, read this one. Wait! Who am I kidding? If you only read one more book this year, let it be this one.