The journey from friends to lovers can be challenging, but when you’re young and struggling to come to terms with your sexuality, it’s a whole lot tougher. There will be some, even among those you trust, who resent seeing you together. Sometimes, however, support arrives from an entirely unexpected quarter. This is certainly true in Finding Our Way, a sweet debut novel by Jayson James, which has the heroes sharing the narrative as they recount the many ups and downs of their junior year of high school.
Justin and Derek have been inseparable since middle school. Now 17, they are blessed with a great group of friends, gorgeous girlfriends, and the freedom afforded by having their own cars. On the surface, it seems they couldn’t have it better.
In fact, things at home are far from ideal. Justin’s parents are on the brink of divorce, driving him to ever wilder behavior in an attempt to gain their attention, while Derek finds his own perfect family stifling. Moreover, both are aware of something missing from their lives, something neither dares put a name to.
One kiss during a drunken game of Truth or Dare changes everything. From that moment on, the attraction that has always been there, simmering beneath the surface of their friendship, can no longer be ignored. Tentatively, they begin to explore their burgeoning feelings, delighting in each new discovery, all the while concealing their romance from their friends and family.
But a secret this big is impossible to keep hidden for long. Soon Justin and Derek will have to come out to the people who matter, and they can only hope their love is strong enough to survive the fallout.
This is a heart-warming novel about growing up, falling in love, and seeking acceptance. Although it has to be said that there are some grammatical errors, I was mostly able to look past these and lose myself in the story. Justin and Derek are so close on every level that it was a pleasure to follow their relationship as it unfolds. By the end, I’d grown incredibly fond of both boys, and I’m intrigued to learn where events will take them in the sequel.
If you have a soft spot for friends to lovers romances that combine genuine tenderness with plenty of emotional drama, you may well want to give this book a go.