Reviewed by Helyce
Kelly Davidson has been looking forward to moving away from home and attending college since he was probably in middle school. He is looking forward to being able to just be himself; out and proud and comfortable in his own skin for the first time in his life. He knows that Hope University is the right place for him and he is looking forward to everything that college has to offer.
Walter Lucas returns to college for his junior year to find out that his request to live off campus has been rejected. If that wasn’t bad enough, dorm choices are extremely limited and he finds that his only choice is to share a single, with a freshman, in a dorm that is the least gay-friendly dorm on campus.
Walter and Kelly may have seemed to be unlikely friends, but over time each will find in the other exactly what they’ve always wanted.
I loved the theme of opposites attract in this story. Kelly is the epitome of a geek/nerd. The poor kid has every allergy known to man, and a deep love of everything Disney. So much so, that he will accept nothing less than true love before he loses his virginity. Walter is a Casanova. He’s been known to get around and he’s okay with his reputation. He does not believe in happily ever after because, sadly, he’s never seen it. His family life did not set a strong example of family love and togetherness. So, he’s looked for it elsewhere and not always in the right way.
But from the moment that Walter and Kelly meet, you see a different side of Walter-certainly not the gigolo type ‘all about me’ persona he puts out there. This is shown in many little ways, but mostly we immediately see it in the way Walter takes on Kelly’s many needs and changes to accommodate him. From making sure that he’s got hypo allergenic sheets and pillow covers, to making sure the cafeteria makes the kinds of foods that Kelly can eat. Walter, without even realizing it, becomes a kind of protector/care giver for Kelly.
As their friendship develops, Kelly begins to have feelings for Walter as does Walter for Kelly, but because he considers himself a bit screwed up; he doesn’t think he’s good enough. So Walter fights every good feeling he has. Kelly struggles with this until his dad tells him this:
“Some advice, son. You need to let him know, but you don’t have to use words. Sometimes the ones we love are like butterflies, flitting all over, and we have to sit and wait patiently for them to land. Sometimes they never do, and that’s a risk we take. But sometimes what they need most is to see us sitting still, patient, waiting. To understand that we’re going to be there no matter what, that we’re the ones who are always sitting there waiting, loyal, loving. Sometimes that’s more powerful than any words.”
When we meet Walter’s family, we get some insight to what’s going on in Walter’s head. He’s had to be a shield for his own mother, who is a bit unstable, for years. Just another hint at the fact that the person Walter often showed to the world was very different from the real Walter. When Walter and Kelly’s relationship starts to change and move forward, we see a lot of growth for both men especially after Walter meets Kelly’s family and is welcomed with open arms.
While there is definite focus on Walter and Kelly, there are two side stories going on. The one with Walter’s friend Cara’s upcoming wedding seemed a bit off to me and only served to make me dislike Cara and how she treated Walter who was supposed to be a very dear friend. I’m not clear on its purpose except to show Walter’s continued loyalty to someone he cared about even when she was being a total bitch. The other story involves Walter’s mentor and teacher, Professor Williams. He’s up for tenure and this brings the students together as they fight to keep him at the school.
I really liked Walter and Kelly together. They forge an emotional bond long before they actually become lovers. It’s clear to the reader that they have feelings for the other, each take the time necessary to build on more than simple attraction before moving forward. Walter struggles the most because he has so many issues to overcome just on his own. While initially, Walter seems to be the stronger of the two, we see this strength flip to Kelly near the end when Walter struggles with changes and feels a bit out of control. I loved how the author found a way to show Kelly’s strength as well.
We are gifted with an epilogue here and it, in and of itself, is a wonderful (but very corny) look at Walter and Kelly’s relationship a few months out. I think I would have preferred actually seeing Walter and Kelly moving forward real-time, not just after the fact. It felt like we go from them falling in love and becoming a true couple who could handle any obstacle thrown their way-then boom-jump forward and, “oh look it all worked out.”
More Heidi Cullinan Reviews.