Review: After the Romance Novel (Before... and After #1) by Susan Laine

Romance novels always end with a happy ever after. Right?

Evan and Adam are best friends, but they don’t know everything about each other. For one thing, Adam doesn’t know Evan writes and publishes gay romance novels until he discovers one while snooping on Evan’s laptop.

This revelation changes their relationship in ways neither could’ve imagined. Adam’s reaction to reading Evan’s stories is not what he expected, nor is the new way he’s looking at his lifelong pal. After all, Adam is straight, or so he’s always thought, and that is what Evan believes about Adam as well.

When Evan admits he might be bisexual, Adam suggests he try dating girls to find out for sure, but when Evan follows his advice, Adam is caught off guard by his feelings of jealousy. And when the date proves Evan isn’t bisexual, but gay, Evan’s request that Adam find him a guy might be the last straw.

How can Adam admit he wants that guy to be him? His epiphany will either end their relationship—or change it into something wonderful in their very own friends-to-lovers romance.

This was short and sweet so I will keep my review the same.
“I’ve never felt like this. Never been attracted to a guy before.”
Adam and Evan have lived next door to one another for years. The boys are best friends who are comfortable around one another and in one another’s spaces. When Adam goes over to Evan’s and waits for him to get ready, he helps himself to Evan’s laptop to look up funny things on line and stumbles across a story… a gay romance between characters named Adam and Evan. At first Adam is shocked and then he can’t stop reading what is in front of him and it kinda turns him on. When Evan confronts him about invading his privacy, the boys have a quick chat about sexuality – Evan either being bisexual or pansexual – and where this leaves their friendship. They end on a positive note but Adam is having a few issues dealing with the fact that his best friend could possibly be more.
He couldn’t wrap his brain around the fact that Evan was someone new, a person separate from Adam’s mental picture of him.
I like that Adam starts to question things after buying and reading a few of Evan’s stories, in paperback no less. He is confused about how turned on he gets by Evan’s words, about the intimacy and sex between two men and when he goes out on a date with a girl that ends quickly, he really begins to question what turns his crank. The conversation he has with Evan after the date seemed honest on the part of both boys with Adam curious about Evan’s sexuality and Evan wondering where he would stand with Adam as a friend when he came out, either way. Friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes and I love the journey these boys were seemingly about to go on.
I don’t wanna miss your firsts. I want them to happen with me.
With a story told from both Adam’s and Evan’s POV, we get to know each boy and how they feel about their best friend. We get Adam as he struggles with the new way he sees Evan and his sexuality and we get Evan pretty sure about who he is until he’s friend lays one hell of a big truth on him.
I loved that the boys really were best friends and knew one another and yet, this step from friends to boyfriends, this step from  buddies to lovers was one they wanted to get right regardless of how badly they wanted to get it on.
This was super sweet and even sexy at the end for a YA novel, but with Evan having all that research experience writing his novels and all the research that Adam began doing, it was only inevitable that they would end up tangled in the sheets heading toward an optimistic HEA.  
As this is listed as a first in a series, I am curious if they author will continue with this couple or bring in new ones to have more before and after’s. Either way, if the next books are as sweet as this? I’m in.


Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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