Book: Growing Pains
Series: Toronto Collections #3
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover artist: LC Chase
Publication date: March 20, 2017
Length: 266 pages
Reviewed by Erin
Gigi Rosenberg is living his best life: performances in the big city, side gigs at a dance company, a successful drag act, and the boy of his childhood dreams who now adores him. Even if the boyfriend part isn’t the sparkly ride of passion he expected it to be, life is sweet. So when his sister’s wedding calls him back to his hometown, he sees an opportunity to show the hicks from his past how wrong they were about him. Only, his boyfriend isn’t quite on board.
Brock Stubbs left their hometown and his parents behind for a reason, and the prospect of facing them again is terrifying. He swore he’d never go back, but Gigi has made it clear refusal isn’t an option, and Brock will do nearly anything for him. There’s just one deal-breaker of a problem: Brock promised Gigi he was out to everyone, including his parents. He lied.
It’s magical to run into the sunset together, but staying the course takes work. For Gigi and Brock, going home feels like the finale of a long, disappointing year. Sometimes love isn’t all you need.
Cass Lennox's Toronto Series is full of rich, diverse characters and the newest book in the series, Growing Pains is no different. We first met Gigi and Brock in book two, Finding Your Feet, and now we're a year into their relationship. What interested me the most and had me really wanting this book was to see how Brock and Gigi manage to put their past behind them and move forward. It's a tough go at times, especially for Brock and this book had my heart aching numerous times.
If you haven't read Finding Your Feet, a little background for Brock and Gigi. These two have known each other for some time, in fact Brock was the bully who tormented Gigi so often in high school when they lived in a small Canadian town. Now, they're trying to move past all that to be together. It helps that this time, in Growing Pains, we learn so much more about Brock and the issues he's been suffering from that have helped shape him into who he is now and why he acted the way he did, namely that he was abused. Being in Brock's head and seeing things from his point of view was utterly heartbreaking at times. Not just the abuse he suffered, but the guilt from treating Gigi the way he did and the supreme difficulty Brock has in accepting his sexuality. Truly painful stuff. Gigi though, he's Brock's complete opposite in that he's open and honest about who and what he is. He's a diva and flaunts his gender fluidity. This makes for some tense moments between Brock and Gigi.
There are some flashbacks to help get a better picture of things that happened in the past and while I'm normally a big fan of flashbacks, here they didn't work quite so well. I did appreciate the things I learned from them, but they were done in a way that took me out of the present day story more than I would have liked. I also have a bit of a problem with the fatphobia from Gigi. I do understand where Gigi is coming from and the things he's overcome, but it was a bit off-putting. All in all though, Cass Lennox has a way of telling a story that completely sucks you in. Even if you get frustrated or angry with the characters, you're feeling something. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series for sure.
About Toronto Connections
The winters might be cold, but hearts are warm in Toronto. Canada’s largest city is home to a big lake, a big tower, and a big queer community. People here are trying to get by like everyone else: pay the bills, deal with life in the city, and maybe find some happiness along the way with someone who’s sweeter than maple candy and more constant than a Canadian’s love for Timmie’s coffee.
For some, falling in love is a real challenge. For others, falling is the easy part—it’s the happy ever after that proves a little more difficult. But in the end, love is worth every complication, misunderstanding, and occasional swear word.
About Cass Lennox
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
Connect with Cass:
- Blog: casslennox.wordpress.com/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Cass-Lennox-1704635609768647/
- Twitter: twitter.com/CassLennox
To celebrate the release of Growing Pains, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!