Review: The Story of Us by Barbara Elsborg

Two boys. One love. Ten summers.

Are you okay?

The first words Zed says to Caspian, and the first time someone has cared about the answer. On a hot summer’s day, the lives of two boys are changed forever. A rebel and a risk taker, Caspian doesn’t give a damn for the consequences. Studious and obedient, Zed is the good boy who is never good enough.

The two couldn’t be more different, but there’s one thing they share, a need to belong to someone who understands them, someone who cares. Their friendship goes deeper than either can possibly imagine. They’re young, in love, and planning their future when an act of betrayal tears them apart.

Fate deals its hand. Seasons pass. Zed’s words follow Caspian through pain, fear and into the darkest of places. Friendships can last a lifetime, even when the world conspires to crush them. But this is more than friendship. This is love and they’re not going to let it slip through their fingers.

The Story of Us is a tale of love and survival, and the triumph of good over evil against the odds. It's a new adult contemporary romance that deals with family and social issues. There is violence and cruelty to children but not sexual assault. The story has sexual situations, dark elements and suspense. The events and locations are a mixture of real and fictional. The characters are fictional.


If I could use one word to describe this book up until the point I read it, it would be ‘overkill.’

I’ve read many angst-filled books. The ones I have enjoyed the most, and the ones that have made their way on to my favourites shelf, have been those that flowed naturally.

It’s those ones that tugged at my heartstrings, and made me root for the MCs to get their happy ever after, making the heartbreak and pain worth it.

In ‘The Story of Us,’ one unrealistic scenario after another is thrown at Zed and Caspian. I found I didn’t care about whether the boys found their happy ending with each new dramatic turn.

I decided to call it quits when I rolled my eyes at what was supposed to be a pivotal moment between the MCs, in the midst of yet another crisis.

Also, an observation: there are quite a few Muslim secondary characters in this book, yet not a single one of them was redeemable. I’m a gay man with Muslim friends who grew up in Toronto, a city with a sizeable population of Muslims. My experiences just don’t mesh with the author’s portrayal, though perhaps her experiences have been different.

Again, I think it was a case of overkill.

I decided to put this book down because I just didn’t care enough about the MCs to look past the over-dramatization.

But I’m clearly in the minority, so I might be missing something. Your mileage may vary.

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