I did enjoy 'Close to You' more than 'Lovers, Losers & You' but I have to admit I didn't love it. Tomas and Marc didn't leave me feeling all gushy and happy. In all honesty there were times that if anything I was left feeling slightly annoyed and frustrated and this was mostly because of the shifts back and forth between past and present because of their connection and the fact that they've been best friends for a good portion of their lives I both understand and appreciate the value and importance of having the background between these two men since so much of what's between them in the present is directly related to and a result of their past. It's definitely necessary information.
Sadly, this is probably one of my least favorite ways for a story to be told. I've probably only ever read 2 maybe 3 books that were done this way that I ended up really, really liking and 'Close to You' has not added to that list.
There were so many things in this story that should have nailed my hot buttons...second chances, friends to lovers, hurt/healing/comfort, recurring secondary characters which for me makes it feel like I'm spending time with old friends and there were other things but mostly I was looking forward to reading Tomas and Marc's story finding out what was holding these two back from being together.
As much as the shifting back and forth of the timeline kept jerking me out of the story the other thing that frustrated me was the amount of time spent in their heads and I'm not talking about their memories. I'm talking about the self chastisement and the repetition of it that took things for me from being an honest and personal reflection of their lives and events that happened and shaped them into the men that they would become, to what felt like perpetual pity parties.
Don't get me wrong neither of these men had it easy. Especially Marc, his life was heartbreaking. No child should ever have to grow up the way he did. There's an expression that says "It takes a village to raise a child". Sadly for Marc there was no village there was only abuse and neglect. From his father to his teachers...especially Mrs. Lynn. She had a moment...a moment in which she could have chose to make a difference, but did she? No, in that moment she chose to be part of the problem. Not until Tomas did Marc have someone in his life who truly saw him...believed in him and knew that there was a good and kind person hiding behind his protective shell.
Also just a bit of a side note on Tomas. While he did have hardships in his life. Losing his father at an early age and his mother definitely had mental health issues. I liked that he also had loving and supportive albeit strict grandparents but he definitely had a strong positive family influence in his life and that was good and helped to add a positive dimension to the overall story.
For me it comes down to sometimes less is more and while I know that getting the background on these two men was so very integral to their story, I needed for it not to have taken up quite so much of the book as it did. I wanted more of them in the here and now finding their way back to each other, developing a relationship as they dealt with the past that both shaped them and tore them apart.
'Close to You' was ok for me and I liked it well enough but I guess I just wasn't feeling the love...I wanted more of the here and now and less of the then and what was.