Reviewed by Ami
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus #4
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 177 Pages
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Love runs wild on the Appalachian Trail in the latest from the author of Out of Frame and Focus on Me…
Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he’d planned to do with his sister.
His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs… (less)
And I hope that gave her peace in the end. Because I was still angry as hell.
Overexposed is the fourth (and maybe final?) entry of Megan Erickson’s In Focus series. And this book gripped me right from the very beginning, with that line that ends the prologue. To be honest, when I requested this ARC, I didn’t fully read the blurb. I wanted to read without having any ideas what the books was about. When I read that prologue, and then Levi going to hike the Appalachian Trail in his sister’s memory, well, it punched me right in the feels.
Despite the somber tone, this book was not all about angst. In fact, I thought it was a lovely story of dealing with loss. I especially loved the part of the hiking. I could see it in my mind’s eye. Being in solitude, connecting with nature, while handling the grief. It appealed to my introvert self VERY much. It was a wonderful description and I thought that was the strength of this story.
I also loved Levi – I already adored him in the previous book, but here, Levi catapulted into one of my favorite characters of the whole series. His personality shined through – despite the loss of his sister, or the confusion that he experienced with Thad. Just like Thad, I was entranced with Levi’s beautiful soul. Considering that this story is told from his perspective, Levi carried it well to the finish line.
I do have minor complaints – because apparently, I am built that way *devil laugh*.
First, I thought Thad’s demi-sexuality wasn’t explored deeply enough. It felt like it was mentioned only in passing. Is the fact that it was just the two of them on a hiking trail enough to build a strong / intense emotion to make Thad attracted to Levi sexually? Is it ALL kinds of road trips, where two people share the same space, intense enough for a demi-sexual to get sexually attracted to someone? While I know this is a romantic fiction, and not exactly a learning pamphlet about demi-sexuality, I think it is a missed opportunity.
Because of that, I also thought the sex scenes kind of disrupted the whole flow of Levi and Thad bonding emotionally. In addition, Thad felt like he underwent a minor character surgery – from being a brooding guy with minimal conversation to waxing romantic things to Levi. I know that other readers might not think so, and I’m aware that I can be the minority. But that’s how I feel about it. To each their own, right?
Also after such a lovely build-up between the two of them in the beginning, I felt like everything near the end was a sprint towards the finish line. That epilogue was nice, probably because Ms. Erickson tried to give updates about all of the couples involved in this series. However, it wasn’t really necessary. I would have loved to get more pages of Levi and Thad in the end rather than having the epilogue.
Despite everything, this is another winning story from Megan Erickson. In fact, I think all four books in the series are wonderfully written. I don’t know if there will be future books about characters that have appeared here (*winkMattywink*) but if this is the end of the series, I feel quite satisfied.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*