Monday, October 22, 2018

Book Review: NOT JUST FRIENDS by Jay Northcote

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Length: 200 pages
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design


Is it worth risking a friendship for a chance at love?

Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis isn’t prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max, because Lewis had always assumed he was straight.

Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction. When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. After a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends.

Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents, and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends.

Please note that although this edition has been re-edited for publication, there is no new or additional content.

Carra's Review

Not Just Friends is a new adult college romance that has Lewis exploring his sexuality as he discovers what that really means for him, and how he adjusts to this new facet of himself.  If that’s not enough for a young man just starting out at university, he also has family issues that crop up for him to deal with as well.  All of this makes for a good bit of angst, but add to that his flatmate Max’s unwillingness to commit to anything with him, and you’ve also got a dash of tension to stir into the mix to make things awkward for them both.

I liked Lewis, and thought he was well-adjusted and that he took his realization of his sexuality in stride.  The complications came from the mutual attraction between him and his new flatmate Max—something they do act on, but Max doesn’t want anything serious or to jeopardize their friendship…especially since they have to live together (along with three other flatmates) while at school.  Max is out and very casual about it, joking around with his flatmates and easily slipping into the LGBT scene at school.  

Though Max keeps trying to back off anything between the two of them, they keep coming together, and they are such a good match that I was frustrated along with Lewis that Max didn’t want more.  But you know that saying…the heart wants what the heart wants…and Max is there for Lewis when a family issue arises, showing over and over that he cares.

This book was a solid 4-star read for me, and while the setup is not necessarily unique in the genre, it’s still a really good story that will keep you entertained.  Not Just Friends is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

About the Author

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

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