Review: Holding On by Sarah Hadley Brook


Note: This ARC was provided by the publisher via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

I've enjoyed a couple of Sarah Hadley Brook's novellas this year, so I was looking forward to reading her new release by way of JMS Books, which also happens to be a full-length novel! Holding On is a young adult (YA) story that takes on one of my favorite tropes, friends to lovers. Aaron Pickard and Jeff Leaton have been best friends ever since the seventh grade and Jeff being the new kid in school chose the seat right beside Aaron. With graduation several months away, Aaron and Jeff should be thinking of everything life away from home will holds for them, but Aaron's life is on hold, what with the constant threat of his father lingering. When his mother is nearly beaten to death by his father, Aaron knows he needs to be strong for her and his younger sister, but even with his maternal grandparents to lean on, it's Jeff's support that provides Aaron with the strength to get through each day. But with Jeff heading off to college and Aaron considering staying in their hometown for his family, is their friendship at risk of ending? What more if Aaron finally confesses to Jeff that he's gay and in love with him?

How do you tell the person closest to you the one secret that could very well have them turning their back on you? That's the dilemma that Aaron finds himself in when it comes to his best friend Jeff. Add to that the years of abuse his father has inflicted on his entire family, the worst being the assault against Aaron's mother that lands her in the hospital and his father in jail and facing trial for his actions. So, there is quite a bit of angst in this YA story, and it is exactly that--a young adult book, which makes me wonder why it's classified as an erotic gay romance on the publisher's website. Yes, there are sexual encounters in the book, but as a whole, this was a YA gay romance. Genre classification aside, I did like how Aaron had no other choice but to face his fears, whether they be regarding his family, his studies, or his friendship with Jeff. He did a lot of growing up here, though I do think had he and Jeff seriously simply sat down and communicated better than they did, then they would have saved each other a lot of assumptions and heartache. Holding On shows the author, indeed, does well in full-length, too. This gets four stars. ♥

Date Read: 28 November 2017

Learn more about Sarah Hadley Brook.

Purchase Holding On on JMS Books | Amazon.

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