Review: Coasting (States of Love) by Yvonne Trent

What happens when you need something but don’t know what it is? Why not look in a place you never heard of?

Out and proud elementary school teacher Cal Hamilton thought he was happy in Philadelphia, but after a breakup, he steps back to reassess his life and discovers something is missing. He gets in his car and drives south with no idea what he hopes to find. The flip of a coin leads him to a small town in Mississippi—practically a different world from the city where he grew up.

Police officer Billy Labarre keeps his sexuality mostly to himself, but he knows just what he needs to fill the hole in his quiet small-town life: the right man. Unfortunately attitudes toward gay men still leave a lot to be desired in the rural South, and it’s hard to meet someone. It’s not likely his perfect match is just going to show up out of the blue….

New author Yvonne Trent's Coasting is a sweet contemporary novella that features a Philadelphian teacher Cal Hamilton and Mississippian police officer Billy Labarre. Since his summer is free, Cal goes on a road trip of sorts after recently breaking up with his boyfriend of five years. He travels down south and goes where his gut tells him... after a flip of a coin.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi is where he ultimately lands. The small town is booming with tourists and there is no room at any local hotels. Officer Billy offers a room at his empty house to crash at. Though Cal doesn't know he's met the officer of the law at the time, he accepts the stranger's kind offer.

Thus begins the start of a very tame and easy relationship. Within 48 hours, the two make permanent decisions and have off page sex. The relationship forms within the first 33% and nothing else happens but repeating that Cal will stay in Mississippi.

The story is nice. There is no angst, no major plot. The story coasts with a sugary ease and not much else. There are readers for this type of read. Not faulting them or this story. I felt it could have easily be finished within 20 pages. A lot of filler about eating, touring the Mississippi bayou and simple sugary sweetness.

The most developed character: Mississippi.

We get to learn the bayou, the food and the culture in the small town. The reader gets to go along as Billy plays tour guide to Cal around his hometown. You get to read his love for his state through and through. *shrugs*

Since the relationship fell into insta-love category, there wasn't much else to help any growth to either main character. The same feelings that they share after a few days continue when the story time jumps months later. Billy is out to those who are close to him but keeps PDA non existent due to where he lives. Cal doesn't mind.

The writing isn't bad. It's nice.

Just like the characters. Nice.

A city guy just ups and stays in a stranger's house without worrying about the possibilities? Nice, I guess for him. As a city girl, I just don't get it. Or the fact five years of a past relationship doesn't get explored for any semblance of depth for the character or snapshot of where Cal's head is at that he could just so easily jump into bed with another man. It's nice not to have to worry about those things.

Nice is there to keep everything even keeled. Nothing and no one rocks the boat or brings any interest to the story. There is a market for nice, non-explicit, no angst sugar. Readers who enjoy that...nice will wallow in Coasting.

Nice, nice, nice.


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