Review: Something Like Rain (Something Like #8) by Jay Bell

Nice guys finish last, but that doesn’t mean they give up the fight. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep trudging through the rain in the hopes of finding a break in the clouds.

William Townson is a good person. He’s kind, considerate, and the last thing he ever wanted was to hurt anyone. Accidents happen though, and when they do, all that can be done is to pick up the pieces. For William, this means trying to hold together a stagnant relationship while resisting the temptation of Jason Grant, a young man with eyes just as intense as his love. Only the future can promise redemption for mistakes of the past, forcing William to choose between the Coast Guard and the needs of his heart. Can he find his way through the downpour to somewhere warm and dry?

I have a love hate relationship with Jay Bell - or to be more precise, with his words. I love and adore his writing style, his characterisation is faultless and once I start I am so fully emotionally invested in his writing I have to tear myself away to do mundane things like go to work, or sleep, and so on and so forth. And this is where the hate part comes in, because I know I'm not in for an easy read, whatever the outcome of the story the road there is going to pummel my poor little heart and I really have to be in the right frame of mind to cope with it. Yes, I am aware they are only books but, as any bibliophile knows, only books is a misnomer.

Authors have the ability to take us readers into worlds far from our own. My grey English autumn has been a hot and sunny Austin for the last few days. William and Jason and Kelly and Ben and Tim have been as alive to me as my real life friends and family. Rightly or wrongly I don't know, but what I do know is that this is a power that an author has, and Jay Bell has it in spades, so I NEVER go into reading a story of his that starts Something Like... lightly. When I start, I know I'm in it for the entire emotional storm I'm about to encounter, and I make sure I'm ready first. This probably says more about me than anything else, but I have faith that at least some of you understand where I'm coming from.

For those of you new to the Something Like... series let me explain how they work. Each story focuses on one main character's POV, usually from when they are teens through to mid-adulthood. The stories' characters will appear in many - if not all - of the other books, sometimes in a minor role, sometimes in a more major way. Time-lines and story-lines are like a bowl of spaghetti, turning and tangling together even though each strand is able to be untwisted if required. Each book shows another side to a storyline we already thought we had completely figured out. We see well rounded, utterly human, characters make mistakes and fall in and out of love and... it's so complex and yet so simple. It's life, I suppose. Life in print in all its complex glory. In the same way that Game of Thrones (bear with me here) has a million characters and story-lines going on, so does the Something Like... stories... except each character only has a main main role in one book - and it's set in our world and there's not so much (any) raping and pillaging and wall defending going on. So, really it's nothing like Game of Thrones whilst managing to remind me of it at the same time. Confused yet? Yeah, me too so let's move swiftly on...

Something like Rain is William's story. It's about his relationship with Kelly then Jason. About the million confusing thoughts and difficult decisions made everyday especially in young and new relationships. William has always longed to join the coastguard, this is complicated by the fact that he is gay and DADT is still in force when he signs up. Doing what he had always dreamt of meant hiding who he was and this was an issue long before he joined up. It affected relationships past, present and future. It defined many of his actions, interactions and reactions. It is integral to how the story pans out, the what if game could be traced back to William's desire to join the coastguard and DADT.

I have to admit that William is not my favourite character, though I did love seeing his POV. I'm not quite sure what it is that I found hard to take to with William. He's nice guy which I usually love, I think there are far too few nice guys in books, edged out for sexy and bad and another million stereotypes. William was nice - he was polite and respectful and hard-working. He always tried his hardest and took crap he didn't deserve (but felt he did) without complaint. He was brave. He... well, on paper he is a nice guy, everyone liked him, everyone respected him but he irked me because sometimes I just felt he was too judgmental of others, whilst still not being as perfect as everyone believed.

And yet, this is also the very thing that I appreciate about Jay's writing and characterisation because it is exactly what makes him human and not a cloned hero that could be transplanted to any and every other book. I guess what it comes down to is that I am not going to love every person I meet IRL - therefore I am not going to love every person I meet in the pages of a story. I certainly didn't hate him, I just liked Kelly and Jason more. But understanding William, and William's perspective, helps me understand Kelly and Jason even better.

For those initiated into the Something Like... universe, I don't have to try and sell this story to you, you know what you're getting, right? To those who have yet to enter the magic of Jay Bell's writing... yes, it is every bit as complicated as it sounds. Yes, it is every bit as emotionally draining as it sounds. Yes, YES, it is every bit as worth taking a trip into this world as soon as possible. Even though you know it's gonna hurt a little along the way, it is worth the emotional angst.

One last thing - the BEAUtiful covers are done by Andreas Bell, the author's husband, and are, IMO, perfect for the stories.

Something like Rain is the latest installment of the Something Like… series, bringing shape to another character’s life while checking in with those from previous books.

The Something Like... series:
Book 1: Something Like Summer
Book 2: Something Like Winter
Book 3: Something Like Autumn
Book 4: Something Like Spring
Book 5: Something Like Lightning
Book 6: Something Like Thunder
Book 7: Something Like Stories – Volume One
Book 8: Something Like Rain

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

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