Review: Out by Cara Dee

“I guess I always figured coming out was something you did for friends and family, and maybe it is, but it’s personal too, you know? The person I was last night is new. I wanna get to know him.”

I had two things on my list when I arrived in Los Angeles. One, track down Henry Bennington, the uncle and guardian of my little brother’s best friend, and tell him to get his ass back to Washington. He needed to do something about his nephew, who was turning into a douchebag. And two, figure out just how non-straight I was. For the past two years, I’d had all these fantasies, and now was the time to explore them, far away from my sleepy little town.

Nowhere on this list did it say, “Get Ty’s uncle into bed and fall for him.” I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with another city either. But between brunch, making new friends, and discovering the man I was meant to be, I lost sight of the future that had once seemed pretty damn vivid. How the hell was I supposed to merge my old life and who I used to be with the new dreams Los Angeles and Henry had awakened in me?

*taps mic*

Hello, dissenting opinion coming your way. This book didn’t work for *me* but there are a TON of other people who are squeeing over it. I had to channel my inner Dory to get through it. Just keep swimming. Since this wasn’t my jam, I swam like a boss to get to the end and came away feeling meh.

Zach, one of the MCs had been raising his brother long before he got custody at age 18. Having to grow up before his time, he is now a 27 year old that’s questioning his sexual identity. Zach decides that he can do this in Los Angeles under the guise of contacting the uncle of his brother’s best-friend(Ty) while he’s there. Ty is acting like a rich brat and Zach wants his uncle to come knock some sense into him. When Zach arrives in L.A. to meet with Ty’s uncle, he was expecting an old, uptight, suited business man. What he got was Henry, rocking his flip flops, cargos, and a drool worthy body. Ty who?

Henry is a 46 year old book store owner that became estranged from his parents after coming out. After the death of his brother and sister-in-law, Henry was awarded full custody of his nephew, Ty. However, for various reasons, Ty lives with his grandparents. Henry desperately wants a relationship with Ty and is grateful for Zach’s intervention.

Soooo, what didn’t work for me?

Zach. Zach didn’t work for me. The book was written strictly in his POV and I didn’t connect with him. He seemed childish most of the time with some maturity splashed in on occasion. There were many situations I had to toss up to his newfound sexual exploration or I’d have a headache. Henry wasn’t all roses either but he had some redeeming qualities that didn’t put me off completely. There was an insta-loveish connection without actually saying the words right away. I’m talking about the stage 10 clinger, no-condoms-needed-I’m-clean-and-I-trust-you-you’re-the-one, fast connection.

What else?

Everything seemed over the top and juvenile for 27 and 46 year old men. After discussing this with a fellow reader, apparently these situations were supposed to be funny. But, to me they fell flat. As a pancake. I may have appreciated the “humor” more if I had Henry’s POV where not everything was so dramatic. Zach wanted to be seen as a grown man that could make his own decisions; but that was contradictory to his thoughts, words, actions and reactions to others.

Another point of frustration was the writing style. We were told everything. Inferencing is a thing. But I felt like I sat through a 299 page lecture on insta-love, brunch and the L.A. scene. Telling, not showing + Zach = Sadface

Just Keep Swimming.

There were some odd additions to the story like Joseph, the return of Martin’s ex, and a situation at the corner store that didn’t add anything except more OTT drama IMO. By time I hit the Martin’s ex debacle, I was already over it and the supposed humor was flyin’ right by me.

Just Keep Swimming.

What worked for me?
I loved Martin “the queen” and Zach’s grandmother, Nan. They were both fun characters. Martin was fierce and had a great sense of humor. Sometimes OTT works and other times it doesn’t. Martin, Nan and their over the topness worked for me. Nan is everything I hope to be in 50 years; snarky, completely inappropriate, forever young, and loads of unconditional love to offer.

I also liked the premise that an older (not a teen) male decides to explore the questions he has about his sexuality instead of just sticking with the status quo of the previous 27 years. IMO, this story could have held up on that plot point alone without the minor role the Ty/Henry storyline ended up playing.

I wish I felt more of a connection. I also wish there was a dual POV to lessen the blow of Zach’s personality. Zach found answers about his sexuality and he got his HEA with Henry. *shrug* I’d recommend this book based on the fact that I’m in the minority with my feels and hope it’s a different reading experience for you.


Trivia Question: Name the novella set during a circus & the two protagonists have gun fetishes as well as unforgettable names. 20 pts

Random winner will be chosen 11/22. I'll be traveling all will so I will try to have winners notified no later than 6 pm EST.

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