Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
(the quotes are kind of randomly placed)
I thought it would be scientifically impossible for Cax and Axel to be cuter and more adorable and sweet and in love than Josh and Caleb.
Guess what? They were just as sweet and adorable and all the aforementioned things.
I’m a big fan of the childhood-friends-to-lovers trope. And reading about Cax and Axel going on church trips and being attracted to each other in that awkward and “what the hell is going on?!” way warmed my heart.
[Cax] What does a guy wear to a place called The Shaft? I’m picturing leather pants and a dog collar.
[Axel] I’m wearing jeans and a T-Shirt. I figure the collar is optional.
Also, the double POV helped me understand how they’d never forgotten the other, how they’d always held on to the memories of their time together.
Cax is in a very dicey situation concerning a very strict and homophobic father, while Axel can’t help but try to find ways for them to be together. I loved seeing Axel flirt with Cax, who had never even been in a real relationship, pushing him to see how far he’d be willing to take it. These two characters danced along the thin line of attraction, their feelings fueled by a passion that had never been quenched, but also dampened by a threat that would destroy something Cax holds really close to his heart.
“So if I came here alone tonight, I’d probably play some pool.” He tipped his head toward the tables in the corner. “But at the end of the night, I’d probably leave alone. Unless there was some super chill, charming guy who made me feel both safe and excited. And he looked like a cross between Zac Efron and Channing Tatum.”
I laughed. “Good luck with that.”
He leaned one of his gorgeous cheekbones onto his palm and smiled at me. “That’s how I think of you, though.”
The side characters were absolutely wonderful, from the outgoing Boz, to Josh and Caleb (YESSS, there are a couple scenes with them in it, too!) to little Scotty, who’s Cax’s youngest brother. I especially liked reading how Axel came out to his mother (accidentally) and to Boz. It highlighted the stark contrast with Cax’s family and situation, but it also added a sprinkle of humour.
“Women’s volleyball isn’t really my thing. Actually, women aren’t really my thing.”
His monobrow furrowed. “Seriously?”
“Seriously.” I braced myself for a clarifying slur or a fit of disgust.
You’re a faggot, is what I thought he would say next.
“You mean I can have volleyball and maybe also cheerleading?”
“Who’s your favorite Avanger?” Scotty asked.
It took me a second to realize that I was the target of the question, because the kid’s eyes never left the screen. “Thor,” I said quickly.
“Not Iron Man? Really? Why?”
“I like his, um, hammer,” I said, then inwardly snickered. Thor was my favorite because I wanted to lick Christ Hemsworth’s sixpack. But the kid didn’t need to know that.
The only thing that didn’t have me squealing in joy was how the whole issue with Cax’s father was resolved without much drama. I know, I like my stories low on angst, but I don’t mind a bit of externally caused drama here and there. It sure left a lot of space for our happily-ever-after, but the climax felt dull.
Now I’m really curious about Jason and I hope we’ll be able to read his story, too.