Book: Where We Left Off
Series: Middle of Somewhere #3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: September 26, 2016
Length: 290 pages
Reviewed by Erin
Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.
For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.
But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairytale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.
A coming of age story set in the bright and overwhelming New York City, Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish is a roller coaster of a ride. Emotional with touches of angst and drama, Leo and Will's story is the last one of a brilliant series. While this book can probably be read as a standalone, I wouldn't recommend it, mostly because the first two books are so fabulous, but also because there are circumstances and other characters from the previous books that are mentioned. This book is a bit different from the others seeing as it how it definitely has more of a New Adult vibe but it’s no less captivating.
Mostly that’s because of Leo. Ah, impulsive, endearing, hot mess Leo Ware. He of the basing his entire academic future on one kiss Leo. Sounds cute and sweet, yeah? Well, it is and it isn’t. Will Highland turned his world upside down with a kiss more than a year ago, not that Will meant to or anything. But that doesn’t stop Leo from romanticizing the hell out of it and picking his college based solely on being able to be in the same city as his mega-crush. As you’d expect, this doesn’t go the way Leo hoped and planned. Will is happy to see Leo, sure, but he doesn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat.
Poor, Leo. I did find him to be quite appealing, even if more often than not he’s like a puppy that won’t leave you alone. He’s only 19, away from home and in the big city, and he’s more than a little overwhelmed. I loved all the scenes showing him with his new friends. College is supposed to be about spreading your wings and meeting people, and Parrish showed all of this in great detail. Yes it made for less Leo/Will time, but this book is meant to show Leo’s growth and Roan certainly accomplished this.
As for Will, I know there are and will be plenty of people who don’t like him. Or his beliefs or his words or his actions where Leo and their relationship are concerned. I liked him. A lot. He’s brutally honest, often harshly so, but he held no punches when it came to what he wanted from Leo. Leo is young and inexperienced and prone to romanticizing everything, but I really felt that Roan did a fabulous job of keeping Will true to his character.
This book isn’t romantic, though of course there is plenty of sex. There are alternatives to the typical monogamous relationship and I appreciated how the author used very frank discussions between Will and Leo to highlight this. I do think that due to Leo’s immaturity that Will could have handled this part of things better, but no one can say Will ever led Leo on.
“Look, I’m not saying this to be cute. I’m not doing some ‘oh god, I’m awful, you don’t want me, rending my garments in the rain, tortured and riddled with feelings of unworthiness because my little brother drowned while I was supposed to be watching him and I don’t deserve love’ thing. I’m being honest. You wanna fuck? Let’s fuck. But don’t have the expectation that then we’ll be boyfriends because you’ll be disappointed. And if you do it anyway and you get your feelings hurt, I want you to think back to this moment right here, where I’m telling you it’s a bad idea so you don’t blame that shit on me.”
Can’t get much clearer than that, right? But of course Leo does fall in love with Will and he does get his heart broken, then it gets put back together again. I don’t think that’s much of a spoiler to tell you this. And it doesn’t take anything away from the story, because this book is about Leo’s growth as a person.
Don’t expect a lot of sunshine and sweet words and fluffy feelings while reading Where We Left Off. This book ends with a solid HFN though, enough so you’ll be smiling, but this is not your typical romance. You need to read this book though, just so you can follow the journey.
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