An unusual romance with very unique characters.
- Review by Cindi
Carter has Tourette's. He moves from Los Angeles to a small California town to escape the big city... mainly crowds. He is able to control his tics to an extent but they are still a very big part of his life. Ethan is his new neighbor.
Ethan suffered a severe brain injury ten years prior. This injury changed everything about him... his personality and his way of life as a whole. While he doesn't require constant care or to be told how to do every simple thing, he does have limitations. He's a very happy man who makes friends wherever he goes and he is loved by all who meet him. Unlike Carter who would prefer to hide away from the world because of his Tourette's.
Carter and Ethan meet and an unusual friendship develops. Ethan makes it clear almost immediately that he wants much more but Carter is hesitant because of bad past relationships and because of Ethan's disabilities. Carter doesn't judge Ethan in any way but he fears that Ethan might not be fully aware of what would be involved in beginning a real relationship. The friendship continues to grow until one day Carter can no longer deny that what he is feeling for Ethan is something special, something real. The road to their happiness is rife with issues from Ethan's past that rear their ugly heads. Lies are exposed and familial relationships are strained. There is intense depression (though not so overwhelming to the story that it drags on). There is hiding away from the world. There is also forgiveness and true love.
The secondary characters are all interesting, some more than others. There is Elliott, Ethan's 15 year old brother. Elliott is a typical teenage boy and is written as such. But he is also a huge protector of Ethan. There are a couple of times in the book when his being a "typical teenager" bugged me but I got over it. Having raised three boys myself, I took a step back and tried to remember those lovely days of boys and hormones. :) Then there are Ethan's parents who are absolutely wonderful. They immediately accept Carter and the relationship that is developing between him and their son. Not only accept it but embrace it. The only problem I had with perhaps the entire book is one instance when Elliott did something that was downright cruel and his parents brushed it off like it was nothing. I am not a hard-nosed parent but I do feel that there are consequences for bad behavior and I did not believe there were any in this case. Aside from that, Elliott adores Ethan and protects him in all ways possible, even if it means trying to push Carter away in order to do so. He comes across as angry and bitter at times but only because of his worry and his love for his big brother. He does not want to see him used or hurt.
Overall, this is a very good book. As I said, it is quite unique and it was refreshing to read about characters who aren't the cookie-cutter variety that is seen in so many books these days. Watching Carter and Ethan find their way to a happily ever after was a true pleasure to watch. This was my first by this author. I am now very eager to read more.