Let It Be (Sometimes Never #4.5), Cheryl McIntyre
Rating: 5 Never Forget Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: New Adult Gay Romance (17 +)
Tags: Psychological Themes – Depression, Attempted Suicide, Coming Out, Contemporary, Series but standalone
Length: 134 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
I’m the one you call when you’ve had a bad day. When you need to vent, or scream, or cry. I will always be there to comfort you. It’s a gift. A talent. A role I’ve happily played. I’ve helped my friends become who they were meant to be. I’ve watched them move away, find love, start their lives.
But what about me?
When does my life start? Where is my happily-ever-after?
My name is Guy Handlin, and this is my story.
*This novella is a New Adult M/M romance. Recommended for 17+ due to harsh language, sexual situations, and adult themes.
**Let It Be is a companion novella to the Sometimes Never series, however, it can be read as a stand-alone book.
***Please note this novella deals with dark subject matter.
I don’t generally read reviews before I read a book. I don’t want to be swayed or have preconceived ideas. However, I did skim a few reviews before I read Let It Be. I noticed people wanted it to be longer – the majority were wanting more on this couple and for the series not to end. They were positive ‘I wish it weren’t over yet, please give me more’ comments. I have to say this, I thought, given the depth of the subject matter, the intense narrative, that this book would have been hard sailing if it were much longer. I liked the length. It felt right for the characters, for the writing and because it didn’t skimp on anything.
The author missed nothing in 134 pages. How can I say that? Well –
I can tell you how Guy and Ian met at Marlow’s CD store. How old they are – Guy is twenty-five and Ian is twenty-three – I can tell you their eye colour, hair colour, their places of employ, their dreams – or fears – their issues. That they both burnt food and are terrible cooks.
I don’t know how I ever got so lucky, but I seriously hit the jackpot with this one.
I set my fork down, walk around the island to where Guy’s busy at the stove, and I flip the burner off. He shoots me a quizzical look.
“Well that was rude. I was using that to burn you pancakes.”
That one day of ice skating was one of the best in their lives. I can tell you about their parents, a little about Guy’s friends, a lot about their relationship. I could see it clearly as they loved each other but while Guy was out, Ian made them a closeted couple. How the fissures and frustrations formed for this pair over the eleven months of their relationship, and why. I can tell you that on the day of a friend’s wedding, when Ian had another day of not being able to be out, and Guy was angry about it, Ian attempted to take his own life. I can tell you the fears and the heartache and the guilt that Guy felt. Unlike another het. series that had a popular gay couple in a longer book- that ran right over the top of the MC’s – this novella concentrates on the primary relationship of the main couple. The two gay men. Cheryl McIntyre did it right. The romance and a dark subject, depression, and how it affects not only the person who is depressed, but those who love them is given full attention. It tackles someone being frightened to the point of suicide being a more palatable option than allowing yourself any thought of coming out or being happy. It also shows that with certain stressors depression can hit critical mass if you don’t lean on anyone and you don’t communicate.
Let It Be is told from alternating POV and memories – Guy is sitting in a hospital room talking to an unconscious Ian who has slashed his wrists and it’s unclear what will happen. He reflects on things before/during/after Ian’s entrance into his life. How hurt he is. How much he needs Ian to come back to him. How much he loves him. How guilty he feels.
Ian’s POV is about how they met, how much he loves Guy but has pushed that down and pushed Guy away. His battle with inner demons that cause depressive self-loathing. He can’t allow himself to commit and allow himself to be loved…no matter how much he wants it, he can’t believe. He hears the words that Guy says, but its impossible to allow them to sink in. He can’t contemplate coming out.
Right from the beginning Ian is closeted and expects Guy will be the same –
“Did I see you snap a picture?”
I nod, swallowing my bite. “For Facebook. I might not be able to post a pic of us or announce we’re on our first date, but I can share a photo of our meal. We’ll know what I really mean. That’s better anyway – like out own little secret.”
His brows furrow, unpleased, casting a shadow over his eyes. “I don’t know how I feel about being a secret,” he utters.
Guy has hidden his relationship with Ian from his closest friends for eleven months. At Ian’s behest they are simply ‘roommates.’ It doesn’t sit well with Guy but he has fallen in love with Ian and he is a strong young man, he has great friends, he is everyone’s rock so he’s prepared to wait for Ian to come around. But the waiting is getting harder even before the eleventh month.
Ian loves Guy but he can’t say the words because to say them makes it real. If it is real it means taking steps towards commitment and isn’t that frightening. It means people will know. He would rather maintain the status quo, even though it is killing him bit by bit. He can remember being depressed clearly from fourteen. He knows he is gay but not one person in his life knows, outside of Guy, and it all gets to be too much.
Eventually Guy lets his bff , Hope, in on what has happened and she is incredibly supportive. Her help and words about suicide are what Guy needs when he is overwhelmed. She lets his friends know that Ian is in hospital, and they come by to support Guy, but she doesn’t tell them what is essentially Guy and Ian’s story to tell.
“Hope told us about your roommate. Thought you might need some company.”
I nod tightly. I have the best fucking friends in the world. They don’t even know how much Ian means to me – he’s so much more than my roommate – and yet they took time out of their lives to check on me.
This is a very angst-y book for the most part and it is well handled. The topics of depression, attempted suicide, and fear of coming out are not light subjects. The author paid the utmost respect to them all. But there are some occasional lighter moments too. It has characters from the previous books pop in and they all have a moment without detracting from the MC’s or their story. It is a New Adult book and one of the things I loved is that it is spot-on for the primary demographic – something I find the LGBT market hasn’t quite mastered yet. There’s some on-page sex and swearing, all of it absolutely realistic and appropriate for the ages of seventeen and up. The book is well written, engaging, the author has a dramatic flair but also writes humour, friendships, family and love very well. Ian’s depression is incredibly real and perfectly portrayed, as are Guy’s feelings of guilt, confusion, anger and love. Guy and Ian are relatable, believable, lovable – I fell for them hook, line and sinker. My heart ached for them. I identified. I cheered. I wanted them to both say I love you. I wanted them to have a HEA so very much. Quality writing from a quality author. 5 Stars!