Review: Out of Frame by Megan Erickson (In Focus #3)

Note: This ARC was provided by Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bodies were all around us, so there wasn't a part of me that wasn't touching someone else's skin. But yet ironically, nothing was more private, it seemed, like a crowd full of people. Everyone else focused on their own bodies, the music. This was just us, so close we were one body moving to the music. So close that his breath was mine. His heartbeat pounding against my chest.

Just when I thought this third addition to one of my favorite series was going to be a five-star read, Megan Erickson amps everything up in the second half and I find myself left with no other choice but to give yet another In Focus book five-plus stars. Yes, I'm already starting this review off by stating what my rating is for Out of Frame, because it's pretty damn difficult to come up with one book worth of that rating, but when you have three in a row, and all in the same series, then that's saying something. All three books may be M/M romances, but they're all distinct in terms of the personalities we encounter and fall in love with and their back stories and the love stories that they embark upon may have each left me with a grin on my face, but for different reasons. It's three for three, so far, and I have absolutely no complaints about that.

Quinn Mathers has always played it safe, brought up to be overly cautious and hyper aware of everything going around him. He over-analyzes, leading him to worry about potential, often non-existent consequences and issues, even when it comes to things that he's still considering doing. His best friend, Jess Hartman, reminds him that he's twenty-one and spending their senior year spring break on a cruise ship is Quinn's chance to let loose and simply be. Easier said  than done, especially knowing that the reality show they've been hooked on is going to be filming on the ship has him wary. But then a bonus is finally being able to see the cast member--the token temperamental one--he has a crush on in person. Only J.R. Butler is much more than Quinn expected him to be and the cruise turns out to be life-changing for both.

Ah, Quinn and Jay...Jay and Quinn. I was wondering how these two were going to work out, especially since they seemed so awkward with one another in the beginning. But then, that kind of stuff--the way the awkwardness shifts into comfort and then begins to develop into something far more squee-worthy. Both Quinn and Jay are in their early twenties--Jay is a year older than Quinn--and they're coming to a point in their lives where they need to start making choices--choices that could keep them on respective paths they've become too familiar with (and you know what they say about familiarity breeding contempt) or taking a different, uncharted route. They need to decide if they're willing to take chances, even without fully knowing if the risk will pay off, including whether they're ready to jump into the unknown together.

I'm editing this review to add something that hit me while I was reading the book but I only realized I forgot to mention here while I was tweeting a reply to Megan Erickson. Quinn has my heart. He felt so familiar to me because, in more ways than I can count, he is me. The awkwardness, the nagging worry, the over-analyzing, the wallflower feeling--that's all me. And just like Quinn, I'm in the process of trying to be more of a risk taker and not allowing my fears to get the better of me. Reading his story--both as someone about to start a whole new adventure as an individual and in his relationship with Jay--made me stop and think that maybe I could be like him and take that leap because I know that there are people who will jump with me and they'll be there to catch me as well. Yup, a fictional character has inspired me and I. LOVE. IT.

Jay and Quinn spend a lot of time too focused on the worst case scenario that it takes stepping out of frame and shedding the skin they've been hiding under and donning a whole new outlook to make them realize that there are alternatives to the supposed predicaments they're in and maybe, just maybe, things will actually turn out better than they thought. Jay, Quinn, and the rest of the characters put my emotions through its paces and I loved them for it. I know the series will be ending (that crack you hear is my heart breaking) with Levi Grainger's story in Overexposed, and it goes without saying that that book is already on my to-be-read list, and with the bar having been set astronomically high by its three predecessors, I can't wait to see what Megan Erickson has in store for us. Five-plus stars for 2016 favorite Out of Frame. ♥


Read my reviews for the In Focus series:

 Trust the Focus (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review

Focus on Me (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review

Out of Frame (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)


Release Date: 15 March 2016

Date Read: 15 March 2016

Learn more about Megan Erickson.

Purchase Out of Frame on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


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