Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Trust The Focus (In Focus #1)*** 1/2
From the author of Make it Count comes the first novel in the In Focus series… 

With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.

As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his father’s ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one he’d rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.


I really enjoyed Megan Erickson’s books, Make it Count and Make it Right so was super excited when I saw she had m/m New Adult book coming out.   And just like her Bowler University novels, Trust the Focus absolutely delivers.

Graduation is over and Justin and his best friend, Landry, are going on a road trip.  Their summer long trip has twelve required destinations.  Twelve places in the US that Justin’s late father photographed and published in a calendar.  Leaving a sprinkling of ashes at each destination should give Justin the closure he has been looking for since he lost his father.  But dealing with his father’s death is not the only difficulty he will have this summer.

Justin and Landry have been best friends since they were in 6th grade and he realized he loved Landry as more than a friend when they were in high school.  But with a politically inclined conservative mother and a free college dependent on a sports scholarship, Justin doesn’t feel that coming out is an option.  His plan is just to enjoy college before he has to go back to the east coast and work on his mother’s campaign.   Coming out and being who he is, does not factor into his life at all.  But when you are in close proximity to your very out best friend and the love of your life for days on end, it can get to be a bit difficult to hide your feelings.  As the summer passes, Justin will have to deal with not only revealing and accepting who he is but also fixing the relationships of those he’s been lying to all these years.  Landry being at the top of that list.

There was a lot of my much-loved angst in this story.  And it fit the story beautifully.  As Megan Erickson stated so perfectly in her blog:

“They are twenty-two year old boy-men and it shows. They make mistakes. They are impulsive. They are struggling with who they are. You won’t find self-assured men in this book because that’s not realistic.” - Megan Erickson

I can’t describe it better than the author herself has already done.  These two young men have had very little relationship experience outside of their friendship with each other.  Add that to Justin dealing with the acceptance of his sexuality and the obstacles that Landry has had to deal with early in life as well in college, and these two have a lot to overcome to save their friendship let alone pursue a romantic relationship.   

As you can guess, Justin’s mother is a huge source of Justin’s fear.  I loved how the author portrayed her character.  It’s not simple or black and white.  It’s a very realistic and complicated portrayal of a woman that is both a mother and politician.   A woman that will have to re-think her decisions and harshly face her failings as a parent.  Without giving anything away, I can say that I also enjoyed both the resolution and lack of resolution in Justin and his mom’s relationship. 

Other than Justin’s mother, the secondary characters are mostly positive influences.  I personally enjoyed how most of them are only portrayed through the comments section of Landry’s blog.  It seems like it wouldn’t be enough. but those little snippets do an amazing job of not only showing Justin and Landry who gives them support but it also gives the reader a pretty good idea of the experiences Justin had while in college.

Megan Erickson is quickly becoming a favorite NA author of mine and I look forward to more in this series (yes, it’s being marketed as a series!) as well as new stories in her Bowler University series.   If you are looking for a good angsty NA read with two male MC’s, I highly recommend Trust the Focus.


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