Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish
Garnet Run #2
LGBTQ Contemporary Romance
February 23, 2021 Carina Adores
Review by Melinda
When I want to recommend a book with great mental health representation I immediately go to Roan Parrish because she has yet to fail me in this area. Her books almost always have characters who have depression, anxiety, or panic attacks – or a combination of all three. And Best Laid Plans is no different – Charlie has a lot of anxiety, particularly around other people’s health. And every time he expressed that anxiety I felt it so hard because Parrish writes it so well.
Charlie intrigued me when he showed up in the first Garnet Run book as the older brother who had to step up to be the caretaker when his parents died. I was so glad to get his story and get to know more about him. He had to grow up incredibly quickly and understandably that’s impacted him his entire life. When Rye comes to town and wants to renovate a house he inherits Charlie steps in and goes a bit overboard with those intense caretaking tendencies he has.
There’s so much I love about this book that just outshines what I didn’t like. Charlie is a virgin hero, which normally I’m like…virginity is a social construct so who even cares and we put too much emphasis on this. But in this instance, it made so much sense for this character who put himself and his needs to the side so completely to have no idea what he even likes. There’s a really sweet exploration of his sexuality that Charlie gets to do in this book because he feels safe with Rye. He may be an adult, but he never got to find out who he really was and the author wasn’t heavy-handed with this at all.
Rye is pansexual and I felt like Parrish did a wonderful job of having Rye help Charlie through everything. There is this wonderful scene where Rye basically sits Charlie down and has him list out romantic and sexual acts and what he is and is not okay with. It was not awkward at all – okay Charlie felt awkward in the moment! – but it fit the book so well.
Both Rye and Charlie have emotional damage and feel an intense loneliness about their lives. Rye has a not so great family in his past and I really liked his storyline and how it incorporated teens in the area who also have a bad home life. I love how that storyline was wrapped up and that the theme of animals from book one was incorporated in this one too! And in the audiobook, the narrator totally did animal sounds and it was perfection lol. My one quibble with this book was that Charlie co-signed for a loan *incredibly* early and I was like WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!? I’m still thinking about it tbh.
But I love this book and this author. Now I need to go re-read her whole backlist again.
CW: past parental death, intrusive thoughts, parental neglect