J. R. Butler is one of the stars of the reality show Trip League and they're taking their celebratory cruise as their season comes to a close. Quinn Mathers is having a last hurrah with his best friend Jess as 4 hard years of college come to a close. It's just suppose to be one big happy party for everyone.
I have to admit I'm not a fan of reality television and for the most part college age and younger MCs also not my thing, but my rules aren't cast in stone either so I can be flexible. I've read the first two books in this series 'Trust the Focus' and 'Focus on Me' and I really enjoyed them so I was more than willing to check this one out as well and so very glad I did.
There was lot about this story that I liked to start with the MCs Quinn has always followed the rules and done what's expected of him and J.R. or Jay as his family calls him has found himself trapped in a situation that he's becoming increasingly uncomfortable with and the more he encounters Quinn the more he questions how much longer he can keep up the pretense of hiding who he really is. I loved the attraction between these two. It was start and stop and a bit of touch and go but given all the obstacles that they had I honestly didn't expect things to be different.
There were a lot of other things that I liked about this story so many of the secondary characters Jess, Levi and yes, even Casey ended up being more than he seemed at first. It was nice to see some of the characters from the previous books Colin and Riley at the beginning and again along with Justin and Landry in the epilogue (which was really yummy icing on the cake by the way).
Now, I'm going take a minute to talk about the parental units because I tend to like to do that and truthfully this time it's not to rant or say how disappointed/frustrated/whatever that I am with the representation of parents...nope, it's because I loved them...both sets of parents were a win with me.
Admittedly Quinn's parents weren't perfect and maybe that's a big part of why I liked them. Being a parent isn't about being perfect it's about doing your best and giving your children that unconditional love that every child deserves from us as parents, but it's also about knowing when to let go, to have faith that what you did in raising your child(ren) was enough. I questioned whether this would happen for Quinn but it did and for me there was a touch of reality to it that...well, truthfully, made my chest feel a little tight and my heart ache for a bit because I remember that feeling. The one where you hope that as a parent you were enough, you did a good job but you realize that it's time to let go. So while it was a very small part of the book the scene where Quinn tells his parents what he's decided for his future was definitely one of my favorite parts.
Next we have Jay's parents very different from Quinn's but just as warm and real. So yeah, one of the things I really liked about this book was that there were no crappy parents but there weren't those parents that make the rest of us feel like we'll just never measure up either. There were just 2 sets of parents who loved their kids and did the best they could with what they had and who they were...just like what often happens out in the real world.
You probably don't need to read the first two books to enjoy this one but seriously, why read one awesome story when you can read 3?
Ironically I started out giving this book 4 stars and as I was writing my review I realized that I loved and enjoyed this book every bit as much as the first two so I'm changing that now and just like the first two books this one gets 5 fully focused stars because I can't think of one valid reason why it shouldn't.