I wish I even knew where to begin with this one. This is probably going to be a bit of a rambling rant because I'm honestly at a loss for how to explain this book and how I felt about it. So here goes nothing...or maybe everything...
Let's start at the beginning and by that I mean the cover. I've loved the covers on these books every last one of them without exception.
Ok, moving on to the real issue here...what's between the covers...is the story of Leo and Will. If you've read the first book you'll remember them from there. Neither of these characters appeared in book 2 and if you read my review for that book you'll remember I stated that they didn't really even blip my radar. So let's start with Leo...
For whatever reason Leo just wasn't my cuppa', for most of the book I just could not warm up to him. His fixation with Will was a little intense bordering on stalkerish. Seriously? He moved to New York under the pretense of going to school...truth,..Will lived there. He only applied to 1 university...you guessed it NYU...stalkerish much?
My other issue with Leo was he was a 'romantic'. Ok, if that means you hear what you want to hear and interpret things to have the meaning that you want them to have...Leo was a romantic. Thankfully as the book progressed even Leo started to see that maybe his 'romantic nature' wasn't in tune with the rest of the world. I did find Leo more likable when he was just being a university student and hanging out with his friends Milton, Charles, Thomas and Gretchen, which I guess makes sense given the dynamics of the relationship between him and Will. What I didn't see in Leo at this point no matter who he was interacting with was someone who was read to be in a long-term committed relationship. On this point I was definitely on Will's side. I'm not saying that Leo needed to sleep with every gay guy at NYU but just because Will was the first guy to kiss him, doesn't make him 'the one'.
Then there's Will I didn't love Will, hell a lot of the time I didn't even like Will. But I did feel that he was or at least he tried to be honest with Leo and he's soooooo gorgeous I mean seriously handsome beyond belief, I m pretty sure Adonis would be jealous. I like an attractive man as much as the next person...really, I do, but I did get a little tired of hearing about it and about what a burden it was for poor Will being so attractive and having people always wanting to sleep with him...really, say what now? WTF? Didn't he keep telling Leo how he liked having sex with whoever he wanted and that was part of the reason that he didn't do relationships? Will, I'm confused is being so incredibly attractive a blessing or a curse? I need you to pick now. He told Leo more than once that he was not relationship material and that he didn't do relationships. In Will's eyes relationships were basically a way to lose your individuality...ok, it's a little more complicated than that but really if you want the full score on this read the book because truthfully...it's complicated and more rambling than even I want to do.
Somewhere in this muddle was suppose to be a May/December romance but between Leo's internal dialogue and all the philosophy classes...can I get my diploma please? I just found things getting a little murky and I think because Leo was so young I really would have been more comfortable with a bit of clarification as to what Wills age was. May/December romances really aren't my thing, not a deal breaker but neither is it the icing on my cupcake.
So right about now I'm sure anyone who's still reading is wondering 'but you gave it 3 stars' you must have liked it...well, yes and no. There were some moments that I liked even a couple that I really enjoyed but mostly those three stars are because I read this book from start to finish over the course of a couple of days. I wouldn't have even taken that long but you know real life and all that. As much as I was for want of a better word disappointed in this one. I was also pretty impressed by an author whose writing skills kept me reading in spite of the fact that the story just didn't draw me in.
On a more positive note there were two things I really enjoyed about this book one was Will's response to a lengthy dialogue that Leo was trying to have with him to explain how he felt,,,
"... and then everything's different anyway, you know?"
Will was silent for a beat and then he nodded. "Yeah, totally."
"Yeah?" I let out a breath of pure relief.
"No! I have no fucking clue what you're talking about! Key terms I heard: sunrise yoga, which I really want to refer to a cocktail; flavor of love, which I think was a reality show on VH1; entropy, which I know is a band; and changed forever, which is what I hope this topic is about to be."
I cannot lie in that moment. Will made me laugh so much, I loved him for it...
and in the end Will showed a vulnerable side...
"...Because I wanted you. I didn't know how exactly, but I just...I wanted you, Leo. I always wanted you." (There was a lot more to this conversation but that's all I'm sharing.)
It was quite honestly the last 20 to 25% that really saved this book for me and took it from being 2 maybe 2.5 stars to 3 not because it was hearts and flowers and rainbows of love because it wasn't but for this pairing it was a realistic promise of possibilities and sometimes at the end of the day it's the promise of what is possible that makes tomorrow worthwhile for any of us.
An ARC of 'Where We Left Off' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.