Review: The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You #3) by Renae Kaye

Aaron Hall has never been able to remain faithful to a single woman, and for most of his life, he’s dated two women at once. Recently his girlfriend tracked him down and knocked on his door—and his live-in girlfriend answered. Now he has no girlfriend and a mortgage he can’t pay by himself.

Vinnie Rosello needs to change his life—get a better job, stop drinking all his money away, find himself a serious boyfriend… and move out of his parents’ house. Aaron needs help with his expenses, so they become housemates.

Even though Aaron harbors some misconceptions about gay men and Vinnie misses his large Italian family, both men find comfort in their friendship. It’s a good arrangement until everything between them changes

Vinnie falls in love with Aaron, and Aaron is shocked to realize he feels the same. There’s only one problem—he’s still straight. He’ll have to overcome his fear of labels in order to love the man who’s captured his heart.

Labels. Like them or loathe them we are surrounded day in, day out by labels. Alcoholic, bi, cis,  depressive, disabled, dyslexic, dyspraxic, female, gay, husband, male,  partner, queer, straight, teacher, trans, wife,    , .. I could go on, the list is endless. Human instinct is to categorise, to order, to try and understand, and labelling is a way of doing this. Is it right? I don't know. Sometimes labels can become very dangerous, an alcoholic is more than an alcoholic, yet you can bet your life that is the term that defines them, I know from personal experience; dad, son, husband, chef, loving, funny... they all come after the alcoholic label. It can be so dangerous to reduce a person to a label.


...and this took me a while to understand, for some people labels are exactly what they need. It helps them understand themselves and gives them a place to belong. Pansexual. For someone who has never understood their attraction because it doesn't conform to what society understands, to be able to be labelled as pansexual gives something to identify with. As humans we are all different. We are unique. Our feelings and emotions and identities are ours to own and label as we please. Right?

Aaron, frankly on the surface I didn't really like him, for a start he consistently cheats on girlfriends because he's not getting enough sex. Not exactly endearing in a romantic lead! Then he has a relationship with Vinnie yet refuses to label himself as anything other than straight... but the more I thought about it, the more I realised, isn't that his right? It's his label for himself. To me, maybe to the majority, he is bisexual. When I google the meaning of bisexual it says:
  1. 1.
    a person who is sexually attracted to both men and women.

Aaron is attracted to women, but he's also attracted to Vinnie, a man. Therefore by dictionary definition, he's bi. Just because it's only one man doesn't change the fact that Vinnie is a man to whom Aaron is sexually attracted. Yet he really doesn't want to identify as anything other than straight. And that is his right. Nobody has a right to tell someone they can't identify the way they want to, and that works every way. Bi-erasure is COMPLETELY wrong, but so is taking away the right for an individual to identify with whichever label they want. Personally, I think bisexuality makes more sense than anything else, we are all people and are attracted to people... but that is just my opinion and I don't expect anyone else to have the same view as me!

So what does this have to do with the book? Well Aaron is very hung up on the labels and it makes admitting that he has fallen in love with Vinnie difficult, he is adamant he's not gay, nor bi, he's straight. See above for my feelings on this. 

The thing is, on the surface this is a funny, sweet love story between two people who don't feel like they would belong together. I'm a sucker for friends to lovers and Aaron and Vinnie are definitely friends before anything else. Vinnie brings out the best in Aaron, he makes us see the nice side of this serial cheater. He is a good friend, thoughtful and kind and the blossoming romance made my heart go gooey. I think you could read this and just be enamoured by the romance. Or you can read it and think deeply about labels and how they fit in society. Is there a definitive right or wrong? I don't think so - but that's just my opinion.

Personally I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves sweet romances.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

Find on Dreampinner Press or Goodreads!

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