La Crimson Femme
Review: Terribly Tristian by Lisa Henry & Sarah Honey
★★★★ @LisaHenryOnline #TerriblyTristian
Having a side job as a bad date to pay for "pocket money" whilst at Uni is a fabulous idea and I only wish I could have done it. If this is a real job some entrepreneurial college kid makes happen, then I am quite impressed. Going into this story, I figured I would enjoy it. There are ups and downs and I am not sure I fully liked everything that happened here, but it was a wild and fun ride.
Tristian is a confident college student enjoying life and living with two roommates. He is bigger than life and he is comfortable in his skin. I like him because he is a nice guy even if he puts his foot in his mouth one too many times. He is definitely not perfect as he makes questionable decisions that fortunately do not backfire on him. Which makes him perfect for Leo. Leo is a darling guy who lives in his parents' shadow. He tries to stay under the radar to ensure he comes across as the "right kind of gay". Just seeing this phrase makes my skin crawl. It isn't that his parents are bad. They are set in their ways and do not want what they cannot accept to be flaunted in their face.
This one point is probably the only reason why I did not rate the book 5 stars. Whilst I empathize entirely with Leo's feelings, his parents were never bad to him. Were they accepting? Not really, but they were never malicious. I don't like how his parents view those who are "not normal" but that doesn't mean they need to be humiliated and put on the spot. Because that isn't going to make them an ally. That is only going to push them harder away from those who live life loud. And for this, I'm sad.
I found Tristian's parents to be fantastic. They are supportive and it shows in Tristian's behaviours. So Tristian's insensitivity towards those who are different in an uptight way comes across as hypocritical. It still does make for a dramatic read that made me torn between laughing out loud or cringing. I would say in my 20s and 30s, I probably would have only seen Tristian's point of view. In my late 40s, my viewpoints have differed as I have interacted with more and more people who want to avoid the loud and proud groups. When they find that I'm not as "normal" as they expected it is usually too late because they already kind of understand me. And this is how I change their perspective. *Steps off soapbox*
The romance in this story is deliciously sweet. The sex is lovely and fun as Leo expands his horizons. The sex-positive message in this story warms my heart. This contemporary romance is recommended to m/m readers who enjoy rom-coms.
* I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.