CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME: Split by Mel Bossa

Quiet and imaginative, Derek O'Reilly spends a lot of time watching a movie in his head. His fiancé Nathan, aka "Mr. Alpha", wonders why Derek hasn't taken any interest in their wedding planning. Aunt Fran—his spiritual guru—would like to know when her guilt-tripping nephew became some kind of kept boy. One evening, she drops Derek's childhood journal on his lap, forcing him to remember the name he's been trying to forget since he was eleven years old. Nicolai Lund.

Nick was Derek's neighbor—and first love.

Weeks before Derek's engagement party, a chance meeting with Nick catapults Derek into the past. Nick could flood Derek’s stale existence like a blond tidal wave, but Nick isn't that sixteen-year-old rebel anymore. He's a man hardened by invisible scars.

As Derek reads through his diary, Nick and Derek’s powerful relationship sways between past and present, sweeping over their emotional landscape, revealing what they were, still are, and might yet be to each other.



I've got to get this off my chest.


I LOVE THE LUNDS!!!!!!!!!

I love Boone and that his insistence on being called Maverick. Because Top Gun
I love Lene. Because of her "baby" with Derek.
I love Johan and how paternal and loving he is.
I love Nico and his wildness and hot temper, but especially because of that dance and the eyeliner.
I even love stern Helga, though I do wonder why she's so hard on Nico and if his wildness drove her to ride him like Seabiscuit or if the wildness sprung from the sternness.
I also loved their Nordicness. Everything had beets and Aquavit! That's full of win right there!

You think they ever dressed up like this for Halloween? I bet they had the weird candy on the block.





Split is wildly romantic, but I had to stick with it to get there, though. I'll be honest, I struggled through the first 40ish%. So much pre-teen angst. I felt like I was drowning in it. YA and I are not friends. I also struggle with books where the MCs aren't interacting all that much AND *whispers* I don't really like Derek. *ducks* All of Split is told through Derek with time shifts between him at 11 and at 28. I think he's a complex character that's well fleshed out and I know he got dealt a shitastic parental unit hand. But, oy vey! He needs to use his words, speak up like his dear aunt Frannie and pretty much everyone who cares about him tells him to do. He's so snarky and witty and clever but it's all trapped inside his head. At one point, I found myself saying aloud, 'SAY SOMETHING! ANYTHING!' like a crazy train. 




Bravo, Ms. Bossa. You turned me into a one of those people. 

Nico helps him come out of his shell and in many ways their relationship is clearly symbiotic from early on. I loved that Nico never made fun of Derek and his stuttering, never didn't have time to be kind to him and was always patient as well as caring for both Derek and his siblings even though they're all at least 5 years younger than him. Derek seems to have a calming effect on Nico early on. Nico is Derek's everything. The sun, the moon, the stars and everything in between. Derek needs Nico like most people need water. He found his soul mate before he even hit puberty. I admit it. I'm a sucker for this destiny trope. Gets me every time.


I could barely hold my love inside my chest anymore. It expanded with every breath Nick took, until I could feel it on the very tip of my scalp and toes. There was darkness all around me. The only light I could see was the one in Nick's eyes. "I see," I whispered. 
And the light in his eyes swallowed the darkness. 
Like a blue vacuum. 
His face makes me want to cry.

Jump ahead to Derek at 28, who is in an unsatisfying relationship with a gregarious salesman named Nathan. Nathan is portrayed as "the villain", but I hold Derek just as culpable for the demise of their relationship due to his silence. He's a ghost in their relationship and it was painful to read. A chance meeting with Boone brings the Lunds back into his life and from that moment on, I was completely invested in this story and these characters. That dinner scene with the Lunds was a sucker punch straight to the feelz. The Lunds begin pushing Derek towards Nico as does aunt Frannie. It seems everyone knows Derek has been gaga over Nico since forever. I wonder if Nico had similar feelz for Derek, but held back because of the age difference.


"…happiness does eventually come, it just needs a lot of foreplay, that's all."

Needless to say, I ended up thoroughly enjoying Split. I loved how authentic all the chef parts were depicted. I loved how funny and poignant it was. I loved that both of them have come to a crossroads in their lives simultaneously and neither made impulsive decisions. The writing of Ms. Bossa is incredible. I was blown away to learn this was her first novel. I would've enjoyed some naughtiness, but… can't win em all.

Recommend for destiny trope saps like me. And fans of the color purple.




"'Because I like mixing the red and blue.'"
Lene set her fingers on her lips, but a small gasp escaped them.
"Red and Blue," she whispered.
Yes.
Red and Blue.



Find out more on Goodreads.

1 comment:

  1. Can I say your choices for Derek and Nico are hot? I wish there was a NSFW live action movie betwixt them.

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