Published by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads on May 17, 2012
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Thomas Wolfe famously said “You can’t go home again.” But what if you did? What would happen if you went back and tried to correct the worst mistake you ever made in your life? That’s the story of The Rest of Forever, a contemporary romantic novelette by Kate Aaron. Jack and Paul were best friends growing up, and planned to go to the big city together for university. After confessing his love for Jack, Paul ended up staying home after Jack panicked. Years later, regretting his reaction, Jack returned to his home town to see if their friendship could be repaired. It’s an age-old story. Can Aaron make it her own?
Of course, Paul and Jack are both gay. Paul is the more romantic one, while Jack prefers to play fast, hard, and never with the same man twice. Jack’s character is very clearly defined. Since the story’s told from his first-person perspective, that’s to be expected. We see a lot more of his thoughts and motivations than we do of anyone else’s. Paul is less well-defined. We see him primarily through Jack’s eyes and reminiscences, but also a little through his own actions. Curt, Paul’s current partner, is the least defined of any of the characters. We only see him through Jack’s perspective, which is clearly colored by their mutual jealousy over Paul. If this were a fairy tale, Curt would definitely be the evil queen. Overall, though, the characters were very well-done, and appropriate for the plot of this shortened story.
The main theme this story deals with is love. Especially the unrequited variety. Jack’s actions when he realizes he may have lost Paul forever seemed at first to be more than a little extreme. Then I remembered how my emotions were and how I acted when I first felt such a passion that wasn’t returned. That helped me feel a lot closer to Jack, and more sympathetic toward him, also. It’s hard when you first feel a strong, passionate love for someone who rejects you. Of course, in a way, it was also karmic payback for his earlier rejection of Paul. There’s a lot of hurt and confusion, particularly on Paul’s part. He can’t understand why Jack is back in his life, and he’s not sure he wants him there again. Ultimately, we do get our happy ever after ending. That ending, though, seemed a little forced to me. Probably due, again, to the shortened format of the book. I’d love to see a longer version of the story, so we can go more into Paul’s and Curt’s lives, their relationship, and their motivations. I mean, while Jack is the main character, Paul was my favorite. I want to know more about him. We know what Jack went through when he thought he couldn’t have Paul, but what did Paul go through when Jack left him? I’d really like to know.
In the end, I’d say this book is a solid 4. If it were longer and more developed, it would probably be at least a 4.5, maybe a 5. Even though the ending felt a little rushed, I enjoyed the book very much, and would enjoy reading it again. Maybe next month, to see how well it reads after percolating in my brain for a while. If you’re concerned about explicit sex, there’s not that much in this book. What there is, really isn’t even that explicit. If you’re just starting to get into M/M fiction, this is a good place to get your feet wet (so to speak). If you enjoy stories with happy ever after endings, then you need to read The Rest of Forever. You’ll be glad you did.