The story alternates between Derek's childhood past and present. Derek is a stuttering and asthmatic young boy, and he makes for an endearing narrator. His debilitating crush on the essential bad boy next door is adorable to see.
"When I came home, I took my finger paint out of my closet. it was still pretty good. I mixed the red and blue together.
They turned into purple. I made a purple heart and wrote Nick's name inside.
Then I gagged.
I cut it all up with the kitchen scissors and flushed the pieces down the toilet.
Nick is very attractive, dyslexic, dreams of being a chef, and has a temper along with an eternally restless nature. He has a tumultuous relationship with his mother that we never really get to see and understand very well, to my consternation. But I guess also realistic because we can't expect younger Derek to have known.
Derek doesn't start to break out of the fog he's been drifting in until Aunt Frannie's slow death from cancer and his inadvertent reunion with Boone Lund. Nick doesn't even appear until past 60%, but his presence stays throughout the book from Derek's recollections and the fact that he has left a hole in all of their lives.
I'm a sucker for stories on childhood crushes, first loves, broken hearts, reconnection. It might not be for everyone because of the slow pacing and flashbacks. There's really only 1 explicit scene (they are more glossed over) I was slightly disappointed on that front, but Derek and Nick have great chemistry to make up for it. With all that said, the story did absolutely work for me.
*Some points taken off because it -is-speedy how they get together again. But romantic me has no real complaints. Also, I share some of Mary's concerns about how Derek's mom and her depression was portrayed. I guess it is understandable that young Derek wouldn't really understand though. Plus, what happened to them later on? Just disappeared...
So I'm changing my rating to a 5 even though some of my earlier concerns still mostly stands. I just still loved this very much the second time around. I think that Derek might be an extremely frustrating character to understand for some, his whole life he's been very passive, just drifting along, saying yes to everyone and everything until he doesn't realize he's become a kept man and that he's about to marry a man who he doesn't love. You can't really blame despise Nathan that much at all, despite his obvious flaws. Derek has been very closed off, cold, and it's hard to live with someone like that. It's so easy for me to identify with Derek though -because- of his emotional disconnection. Also a reason why I am drawn to [b:The Opportunist|13312527|The Opportunist (Love Me With Lies, #1)|Tarryn Fisher|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1374526831s/13312527.jpg|18518411] and similar books so much, I suppose. Anyways, I did end up tearing up at the same spot again and like I said, stories about childhood crushes and reunions are my guilty pleasure. Slow paced and some might not appreciate the flashbacks that overtake the first half but I personally loved it all. Not for everyone, I think. Some heart-tugging moments with Derek's lonely childhood, but last 15% gives that needed huge breath of sweet air.