Release Date: March 4
This book slayed me. It was all the emotions, all the time. The very first chapter made me cry. And it sort of spiralled from there. Feelings all over the place. Joy, sadness, anger and … is horny a feeling? Anyway. It was overwhelming.
This is an M/M, age-gap, student-teacher story. And it’s beyond amazing.
Phoenix Michaelson, book-worm introvert and philosophy aficionado, is just starting his senior year of high school. Sebastian Wicked is the new philosophy teacher, and as it turns out, Phoenix new neighbour. His married neighbour. Phoenix crushes hard. Wicked’s attractive, but for Phoenix he’s also (finally) someone that can understand him. It’s an infatuation between minds that Phoenix desperately wants to turn into something more.
Age-gap per se doesn’t faze me, but too young characters does. And the fact that Phoenix was only 18 could have been a major ick factor for me. But since he was mature beyond his years, that was actually never an issue. Phoenix and Sebastian were both just old souls in differently aged bodies. No biggie. Well, except for just about everybody else in the book of course.
It was so much about this story that impressed me. Never mind the way it pulled me in and all the feels, but I could never have imagined a trope like this being portrayed so credibly. How both Phoenix and Sebastian grew more and more intrigued by one another. How their student-teacher relationship slowly evolved into more, without downplaying the inner turmoil and doubt that plagued Sebastian as he finally gave in to his desires. It just felt so very realistic.
What really stood out to me, was the ever present under-current of loss and melancholy. Even amidst the joy and love, when Phoenix and Sebastian were alone in their bubble, there was still that blueness to it all. Which, I would say, sums up the reality of life pretty darn accurately. But despite all that, this isn’t an all-angst-no-play read. It’s not depressing. Just emotional. And I’m in awe of how Harris managed to create such complex and realistic characters as Phoenix and Sebastian.
Usually, I’m not a fan of excessively flowery dialogue. Long-winded and too heartfelt declarations almost always comes off as contrived and unrealistic to me. But the fact that they were both such enormous philosophy-nerds very nicely circumvented that pitfall. As they both lived and breathed philosophical debate, quoting Plato and Socrates, perceptive and insightful dialogue about life and love felt like the most natural thing. Bloody brilliant.
I could go on and on, trying to describe all the feelings this story evoked in me. But I just don’t have the words for it. I’m not a writer. So I’ll just say that this book was effing amazing, and I can’t recommend it enough.
* A free copy of this book was provided by Gay Romance Reviews*