Book Reviews

Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere 3) by Roan Parrish at Monster Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / New Adult / Erotic Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 02-December-2019

Book Blurb

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly. 

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries. 

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2016.

Book Review

Having come late to the party that is the 'Middle of Somewhere' series, I've been on a roller coaster catching up for the past couple of months. After book one I knew there was no way to stop. Roan Parrish's writing pulls me in and keeps me focused solely on the characters and the story she weaves. I haven't been as excited about any of the other books as much as I was about Leo and Will's story in 'Where We Left Off'.

Leo may feel as if he's nothing much, just some kid who grew up in the sticks, but Leo is far wiser and more mature than the majority of his peers. He knows what he wants. He wants a relationship. He wants to come home to the same person, curl up on the couch, share their day with each other, share their lives, and Leo wants that to be with Will, even though Will has made it perfectly plain that he will never want a relationship. Outside of the emotional portions of Leo's makeup was the fun I had watching him grow and thrive away from his small town. At NYU Leo makes friends and it is a lot easier that he thought it would be. He finds people like himself, people he can talk with, do things with, and enjoy his newfound freedom.

"No one had ever made me feel so comfortable just saying whatever I thought before. I didn’t have to worry that disagreeing with Will would hurt his feelings or piss him off. I mean, he might be pissed because of my opinion, but not because it was different than his."

Will is complicated, to say the least. I struggled with understanding him and I think it was because the book is written in Leo's point of view, so I never actually got into Will's head. Leo is certainly forthcoming with all the things he learns about Will's moods, behaviors, their friendship deepens, but it was the why of it that I needed. Some of it I could understand came from his parents and his childhood, which was certainly understandable from the small amounts he shared with Leo. I was stuck between loving Leo for being a romantic and wanting to hate Will for giving parts of himself but holding back so much. I know I've read other novels where the two main characters were very different but nothing comes remotely close to how dissimilar Will and Leo are.

“You agreed that it was okay and that we’d still be friends. You’ve always known who I was. The fact that you didn’t want to admit it to yourself doesn’t make me the bad guy. It doesn’t mean that I’ve betrayed you or broken a promise. Just because you wanted something to be true doesn’t make it true. You don’t get to decide how things go and make them be that way.”

I could personally empathize with Leo. At his age, I was exactly the same, having learned about what relationships should be from books, TV, and movies. Definitely not the most reliable sources and heavily skewed for romance and happy ever afters. Leo, however, managed to actually learn from some of his misdirection which was intriguing to see (although as a physics major some of Leo's thought processes reminded me too much of college and that was scary). Since this is a book and Leo is a character, he got what he wanted in the end even though the path to getting there was painful, and what he got was very different from how he'd imagined it but no less intense or valid for it.

I applaud the author for this incredible novel. Leo and Will could not have been easy characters to write but Roan Parrish blew me away with their story. It was so much better than I thought… hell, than I had even imagined it could be. The ending? Visceral. Perfect. Beautiful.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 262 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 18-July-2019
Price $5.99 ebook, $15.99 paperback
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