Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You Can Choose Your Friends

Title: You Can Choose Your Friends
Author: Zahra Owens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-331-9
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Prequel
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Being the youngest son of an ultra conservative minister means that Franklyn Galloway is stuck firmly in the closet without any hope of coming out. His father has specific expectations for his life, which includes his future occupation. Franklyn wants to study architecture, while his father insists on a business degree. He manages to sneak in a design class where he meets free spirited Jay Molenski. Franklyn’s been raised to believe his feelings for Jay are wrong but their attraction can only be denied so long.   

His trip home for Thanksgiving goes badly and Franklyn ends up back at the dorm, nursing a fifth of vodka and a bottle of sleeping pills. If not for Jay, he might have made a mistake that could have ended his life. It’s up to Jay and his family to prove Franklyn deserves to be loved for who he is. 

You Can Choose Your Friends is the prequel to the previously published You Can’t Choose Your Family by Zahra Owens and takes place twenty years before the first release. It’s the story of how Jay and Fran met at college and spent their first Christmas together with the Molenski family.  

I loved watching Fran move away from his stifling family and finally get the chance to be himself for the first time in his life. The on-going guilt and repression by his father, even from a distance, is nicely expressed and it shows the depth of his emotional pain, and continuing fear and unhappiness. Fran’s struggles to be himself are handled nicely, and Jay is the perfect friend to help him, being supportive but honest with his own feelings. He’s open, caring and tenderhearted. And he has a loving, supportive family, willing to welcome Fran with open arms. 

I liked seeing these two men come together and develop their relationship. Fran finally admitting his preference for men and his love of Jay is wonderfully done…if at times heart wrenching. If you can appreciate a story where a young man takes the first steps into a new life, then give this novella a try. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

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