Title: In the Middle of Somewhere
Author: Roan Parrish
Themes: Personal Growth, Learning Process, Meaning of Love, Compatibility
Summary: Daniel is a beautiful man who carries a lot of pain in his heart. Growing up bullied by his siblings and father because of his sexuality and bookish nature has made him even more distrustful. Meeting Rex on such a night was so unexpected and he can’t get him out of his head. They meet, again by chance and there’s no holding back the fire that burns between them. As they begin to fall for each other, they slowly but steadily begin to fill the holes in each other.
What I think: First, please indulge me while I quietly take a moment to gush over Roan Parrish. This was my intro to this author. Roan is a scholar and boy, does it show. Her use of powerful imagery and utter vulnerability turn her novels into bardic tales. Her intimate knowledge of David’s teaching position is amazing as she mentions things that only a fellow teacher can know (I taught for about a year). I put off writing this review because I was afraid I wouldn’t have the right words. But I realized that I would never have the right words so here it is. This book revealed a side of the gay dating world that isn’t often talked about – how young gay men feel in a world that can’t decide what to do with them. You’re either effeminate which is supposed to be wrong because, dammit, you’re a man. Or you’re overly male which, dammit, means you should have women lining up to fulfill your Alpha desires. Unfortunately, even the LGBTQ community is guilty of this.
For all that Daniel is angsty and new to this, his courage in the face of the unknown is admirable and laudable. As he puts himself out there, again and again, the urge to protect him is so strong. I wish I could lock him up somewhere safe forever. Rex is loving and the only person that can heal Daniel. His optimism, warmth, generosity, and sensuality are the perfect tonic that Daniel always needed and craved but never knew it. I have tried to imagine Daniel with someone else and I just can’t.
This two are so perfect yet so real. The changes they both undergo and the way they want this to work is so heartachingly beautiful. Every time I read my favorite parts (which I do at least once a week), the song that goes through my head is Maroon 5’s ‘Sunday Morning’. The part that goes – Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable, you twist to fit the mold that I am in – is perfect for this tale. Rex and Daniel twist and step forward, backward, then forward through personal fears and insecurities and tragedy. The lovemaking is at once teeth-achingly tender and brain shatteringly erotic, heavy on the sensuality, thick on the sex and heart-stopping because you never know what side of them is about to be revealed. The sex was as necessary as breathing. There is no doubt that this is a dance of love and Roan has turned lyrics into prose. She has turned actions and thoughts into powerful scenes that feel like a brush against your soul. By the time Daniel is begging Rex not to shut down on him, I was weeping. When Rex showed Daniel that they love each other enough to make things work, I cried tears of relief.
This tale opened my heart and laid it bare. It showed me my faults in the flaws of these 2 then showed me how perfect those flaws can be. It recreated romance fiction and turned it into an elegant yet honest work of literature. Asking that it be studied in school is not an exaggeration but only owning up to the gem that this tale is.
Verdict: Buy it and Read it because you need this book in your life. Then, after bookmarking your favorite places, send me an email that expresses how grateful you are that I made you read this book and how much you now love me. You’re welcome!