Review: Meet Me in the Blue by A.M. Johnson (Hemlock Harbor #1)

Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author.

"The point to this entire story is that love isn't easy. Love is sacrifice, son. It hurts, it's messy, and shit, it will tear you up. at the risk of sounding like one of those greeting cards your sister loves to torture us with, I have to say it's worth it. Love is worth every single hurt it gives. It's worth it because it's fucking living, and you deserve to live it."

A series starter always brings with feelings of anticipation and nervousness, especially when it comes from a favorite go-to author whose previous series left its heart print on your soul--although to be fair, that's what happens with every A.M. Johnson read. Meet Me in the Blue is the first novel in Johnson's Hemlock Harbor, and every single expectation and hope I had were handily met, surpassed, and obliterated, leaving me with these emotions--all good, giddy, and glorious, of course. In short, what an amazing beginning! It's also set the bar for the rest of the books to come in the series, and fingers crossed each one meets the challenge, although experience has taught me to not underestimate how many times this author is capable of giving readers characters and stories that we can't help but become emotionally invested in and absolutely attached to. 

Meet Me in the Blue is the story of two estranged best friends, Luka Abrams and Rook Whelan, who met when they were nine years old. From that moment on, where one was, the other wasn't far behind. Even after graduating from high school and heading off to different colleges, Luka and Rook's bond knew no bounds. Or so Rook thought. Luka made the choice to remain in Oregon, while Rook stayed in their home state of Washington. Rook would return to Hemlock Harbor to work with as a certified nurse and midwife alongside his father in the practice they shared with Luka's dad while Luka would move to Los Angeles to pursue his photography career. Then came word of Dr. Abrams' prognosis, leading Luka to finally come home and reunite with his family and bid his beloved father a final farewell, but is it too late to mend his friendship with Rook?

In my nearly five decades of living, one of my regrets has always been the relationships that I allowed to fall to the wayside, usually due to lack of effort on my part or the other person's, whether knowingly or not. Which is why I relating to both Luka and Rook and the pause in their friendship was actually easier than I'd care to admit. I empathized with them, and I understood why Luka made the choices that he did five years prior and why Rook was cautiously optimistic that they would be okay. I loved seeing how easy their friendship seemed to be via flashbacks while also appreciating where they were headed as a committed couple. The support system they had, both in terms of family and close-knit friends, was refreshing. There was a point where I shed a few tears, but ultimately, this series starter left me with a smile in my heart. Five-plus stars for Meet Me in the Blue.

Release Date: 02 March 2023

Learn more about A.M. Johnson.

Purchase Meet Me in the Blue on Amazon.


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