Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson ( web | tweet | facebook )
Publication Date: 3/17/2015
Target audience: New adult
Keywords: Post-graduation, coming out, best friends, road trip, parents
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)
Last reviewed: Make It Last by Megan Erickson
Summary: Lan and Justin are best friends, bound for the open road post-college graduation. Justin plans to visit his deceased father’s favorite spots, while secretly pining away for out-and-proud, Lan. Telling the truth about who he is threatens his post-graduation plans and his mother’s expectations but how can he continue pretending to be someone he isn’t in a Winnebago for three months?
The catalyst for Justin’s road trip is to fitfully say goodbye to his father — leaving his ashes in the spots he loved to photograph. But in saying goodbye to one part of his life, Justin is forced to say hello to another. How much longer can he contain his feelings for his best friend, Landry? He’s buried them so deep for years, pretending to be into girls, but with three months of summer ahead of them, on the open road, Justin’s not sure he can keep things platonic much longer.
Best friends turned romantic is one of my favorite storylines. Justin and Lan go way, way back, and I love that they are about to embark on life after college and still maintained their friendship (despite some ups and downs, of course). Lan is there for Justin when his father dies; Lan’s parents treat Justin like their own when his own mother is cold and not a Lan fan at all. Lan has tattoos and is openly gay, while Justin is on par to work for his mother’s conservative political campaign once the summer is over. He has an image to uphold, according to his mother. But with the open air, the swirling feelings, and the regret threatening to surface, what’s stopping him except for himself?
Trust the Focus was a lovely combination of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and some of my most treasured M/M contemp romances by J.H. Trumble. (If you haven’t read these yet, please do.) Erickson does an effective job of getting into Justin’s head. As much as I was rooting for him to jump to it already, I understand how self-conscious and scared he was. One admission would change the course of his life forever, and nothing was going to guarantee the rest would fall into place. What about Landry’s boyfriend? What was he going to do for a job in the fall? What would his old teammates think? (Another book rec: Out of Pocket by Bill Konigsberg.) It was very astute for Erickson to have Justin and Landry deal with, in addition to everything else, this “betrayal” in their friendship; it was thoughtful and necessary and I was glad that she went there.
As I tend to recommend when it comes to an Erickson romance, please keep ice water handy. Trust the Focus was hot hot hot. The tension was fierce. Plus there’s some blog writing, a great father son relationship, and a few moments where I thought Erickson was going to break my heart into a billion pieces. I just adore her stories. They’re sweet and sexy and fun and honest. Trust my review: check this one out now.