Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Focus on Me
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus #2
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 204 Pages
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.
Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…
Review: When Megan Erickson wrote in her blog that FOCUS ON ME was her version of the 90’s movie, Mad Love – have any of you watched it? It had young Drew Barrymore and Chris O’Donnell – except with gay characters, I was excited. I loved that movie – I could remember being so engaged by it, the storytelling about two young lovers while facing mental health issues just pulled me in.
Now back to the book …
Put the characters aside, I think what Erickson did with the mental issue theme here was telling it in a subtle but still respectful way. Riley’s clinical depression was never in your face. It never became preachy. However, you still get the idea about how dangerous depression is for someone and how this story becomes important.
Focus on Me is written solely from Colin’s point of view. In a way, Colin was the readers’ representative. Colin was our observer, he saw the problem in Riley the way that the readers would. While Erickson did write Riley’s perspective in between Colin’s narration, we basically got the clues the same time Colin did. It didn’t happen all at once; the story unfolded in a timely manner, until that climax moment.
This story basically tells you that sometimes love is just not enough. In the case of a mental health problem like depression, sometimes love cannot be the only answer. And if you love somebody, there will come a moment that you need to be able to see this, to let them get the help they need. Love cannot save everything and you have to ask for professional help. That’s one of the things I appreciated the most.
The other things? Well, the characters, of course.
Colin was loyal and dependable. For every time Colin said that he seemed to be unable to finish anything, he still showed that caring gene in him would take him a long way. You can see it for yourself how much Colin wanted to take care of Riley, how deep his love for Riley was, that he was willing to let Riley go in order for his Catwalk to get healthy again. In fact, I thought Colin was the most solid young man character in this genre, and I have read M/M romance for the past 7-8 years now!
While Riley, he just broke my heart. I know that he didn’t get his own point of views very much in this book, but from the emails that he sent to Landry, you would get him. You would get to see the crack in Riley’s heart, the darkness in his mind, and you would wish so much for him to fight for his health, to be better, to grab that chance of being happy. You would care for Riley so frickin’ much.
And in that climax moment, I just burst out in tears! Big fat ugly tears. Apparently Erickson plans to punch me in the gut with each book in this series. Colin and Riley’s story is more memorable, more significant, more relevant, more scintillating, and more outstanding than Trust the Focus, if that is possible. For me, this is the kind of story that I love: it is complicated but has a hard-fought and much deserving happy ending.
Like the movie that becomes its inspiration, Focus on Me is wild, sexy, raw, fierce, and intense. It’s a roller coaster ride but when you reach the end, it’s so satisfying. It’s a brilliant read for me and why it deserves my 5-stars rating. Megan Erickson has once again proved why she is one of my auto-read authors. However, with this book, I think she also catapulted herself to the top level of my favorite authors list.
Overall Impression: It was amazing
Overall Impression: It was amazing
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*