But as Landry’s curls tickled my neck, his hand curled around my hip, I knew I’d pick this over normal. I’d pick these moments over living someone else’s life. I’d pick Landry...
— Justin Akron (Trust the Focus)
Confession: I love Megan Erickson’s New Adult Bowler University series (it’s MF although you will encounter a very awesome lesbian character there!) but I admit that I had slight concern before I started this one. I told Megan via Twitter that I was excited but the truth was I was worried.
Why, you ask? Well, NA has never been a favorite genre of mine to begin with – and MM NA is even trickier. While I do have some titles I’ve enjoyed over the years, it is kind of hard to think of ones that just ‘grab’ me immediately. In addition, there are books whose characters are new adult age but they feel more like adult romance (due to how the sex scenes are written).
So would this be as good as Megan’s M/F ones?
Well, it only took me a few hours to read this book – I sneaked in some reading time at the office (hush, my boss wasn’t in and my work was all done, okay?) and then later when I was on the train commuting home. This book just KILLED me with the unresolved tension; my heart felt like it was being squeezed tight all the way through. Oh, and I think I also spent most of the time reading this book with watery eyes.
The story was told from Justin’s perspective and I thought that was the way to go. Justin is secretly in love with his best friend, Landry, who is out and proud. But Justin has been in the closet for years, acting straight, and now with the fall looming over him, and the demand from his conservative Mom to take his position as part of her campaign team, Justin feels like the world is closing on him. This road trip feels like his last chance to be with Landry ... and maybe to face his fears.
I loved this story. I mean, two best friends, on a road trip, where they finally face what has been a secret between them. It’s like my kryptonite! AND MY GOD, I LOVED JUSTIN AND LANDRY. It’s #JusLan Forever...
I loved them for their stupid mistakes – the hurtful words, the arguments, the idiotic moves ... because it shaped these young men to be the adults that they needed to be. Everything that happened during the road trip, including how Justin and Landry finally came down with honesty about the feelings they’ve been secretly harboring for each other felt so realistic and honest.
The emotions in this book were so vivid and I felt like I was hurting then smiling in triumph alongside them. Justin and Landry pulled me into their love story and I was so invested in them like they were my own best friends (or rather, younger brothers, because well, I definitely passed the age of twenty-two more than a decade ago).
I really wish I can write better a review to give this book justice but I can’t exactly pin point only one thing. Because this book is a journey – from friendship to something more – and as a journey, it was so satisfying. I loved the characters. I loved the writing style. I loved the road trip, the scenic scenes they took, the blog posts that Landry wrote, the tender and heartbreaking moments of Justin saying goodbye to his Dad, the baring of their souls, the adorable sex scenes… even the resolution (if I could call it that) from the conflict that Justin had with his mother. And I need to give the author thumbs up about how she dealt with Justin’s mother. It was easy to make her the villain, a homophobic demanding conservative Mom, but I felt that it wasn’t exactly black and white with her.
And you know what I wanted when I finished the story? I wanted to start reading it all over again, to be with Justin and Landry again because I wasn’t really ready to let them go. Within 200 pages, Justin and Landry have firmly established themselves as one of my favorite new-adult MM couples. Trust me when I say it’s not an easy feat since I have read the MM genre since 2008 and over 2,500 MM stories. I am pretty sure, though, I’ve never felt this much love for new adult MM characters before. Just for that, this book deserved all of my 5-stars.
Bottom line, Trust the Focus is one of the most satisfying MM New Adult stories that I have read in years. It is MY perfect friends-to-lovers read – the one that I can actually see myself re-reading (and I don’t exactly re-read books!). It will be a book in which I don’t care what others think (although I hope they love it as well) because it was perfect for me and it made me happy and I loved it, oh, so very much.
Megan Erickson is now entering my list of favorite authors and I’m going to (not so) patiently for her next In Focus book (especially since I know who the MC will be).