*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I have been desperate to read this book ever since Nyrae Dawn announced she was writing it. I have started reading more m/m romances but I had yet to find the kind of book I was looking for. Most of the books I read and enjoyed were mostly of older men, comfortable in their sexuality and having less pressure on them to fit a certain mould. I am a huge fan of Nyrae Dawn's New Adult books so having her write a romance between two young male characters was a perfect fit and I am so glad I wasn't disappointed. Rush was everything I hoped it would be and everything I knew it could be.
I liked the way in which the story began, Alec and Brandon already had a history, and this was recalled in the prologue and done in such a way that I didn't feel I missed any of their back-story. For the past four summers Alec and Brandon have had a back and forth relationship, but always ending when Brandon had to go back home. During their last summer together, Brandon makes a decision he soon regrets. He ends it once and for all with Alec. Being a gay football player is too much pressure Brandon isn't ready for and with a heavy heart he calls things off. However, with feelings so strong for each other, it's only a matter of time before Alec and Brandon are in each other's lives again.
I knew Rush would be an emotional story, and I expected tender moments between Alec and Brandon, what surprised me was how hot it was! I loved the way Alec and Brandon were both discovering each other for the first time, the physical side of their relationship was portrayed realistically. There was the right balance between sexual tension, suspense and intimate scenes. Nyrae gave just enough at the right times and pulled back at others. I thought it was very well written.
I liked both Alec and Brandon's characters individually and together. They had their own strengths and supported each other when they needed it. Brandon struggled with his football career and the attitude of his team mates, whilst Alec feared the reaction of his bigoted father. Both boys were very relatable and I liked many of the supporting characters like Nate, Charlie and Brandon's parents. Now I need to read Charlie and Nate's story in Four Summers.
I don't want to give too much away as it's best to read it for yourself, what I will say is Alec and Brandon's journey was real, their reactions, thoughts and feelings were natural and believable, even the actions and attitudes of those around them were real too. Yes, there were times when I wanted to shake a few people and shout at them for saying things or acting a certain way but sadly, that's reality and we don't live in a world of true acceptance and it saddens me to think we never will. All I can be sure of is my own attitude and by reading this story I value the close relationship I have with my own gay bffs and it makes me appreciate the life they are able to live, surrounded by loved ones who are accepting of them and supportive no matter what.
The storyline wasn't as angst filled as I thought it would be, I was getting myself worked up as the book was approaching the elusive 80% mark, if anything was going to happen that would be the time for it. The story could have taken many drama-filled paths and wild theories were running through my head, I felt so protective of Brandon and Alec; I didn't want anything bad to happen to them. The drama was on the low side due to the story being character driven and this worked perfectly, Brandon and Alec's journey was real and one many young teenagers/new adults can relate to.
I read Rush in a matter of hours and I was determined not to stop until I had finished, it's been a while since a book has had that affect on me. I've been searching for a story like this for a long time. One that takes us to the heart of the struggle, a real depiction of struggling with whom you want to be and who you feel you should be. I hope this book falls into the lap of anyone that is fighting this battle daily, of anyone who wants to speak out but doesn't have the strength or support to do so yet. By reading this book, it may not change their life today but it will certainly give them something to work towards for the future. It will give them hope.
Nyrae Dawn was the best person to tell this story, Alec and Brandon's fate was in safe hands and Nyrae done them justice. I'm glad this book will soon be out in the mainstream and I cross my fingers that it hits every chart imaginable as it is well and truly deserved.
My heart will always love Colt, Adrian and Maddox that little bit more, they were the reason I fell in love with Nyrae Dawn and her writing but Alec and Brandon are not far behind at all. There is so much heart, passion and emotion packed into this story. It has truly cemented my love for Nyrae and the reason she is one of my top five authors. Not only were Alec and Brandon putting their lives and hearts on the line but also so was Nyrae as she put out this story. I'm forever thankful that she had the courage to do so. Rush was a great book and it will be a story I encourage my son to read when he grows up, no matter his orientation. This book is for anyone, the message is clear; it's perfectly okay to be who you are but only you can make that decision to live the you deserve.
Coming of Age has never had a better definition than the one captured within the pages of Rush. I can't recommend this book enough, it had everything I was looking for and more. My highlighter was going crazy, there are so many beautiful words, phrases and messages of encouragement in this story and I really hope it touches many people like it did me.
If you are a fan of New Adult and even if m/m romance isn't usually a genre you read, I urge you to try Rush today, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
"I'm not strong enough to be with him, but can't handle walking away either."
"I don't even know who I am," "It doesn't matter. We know who we are together."
"No matter what anyone thinks, it doesn't feel wrong. It feels better. He makes me better."
"It's the same rush that sweeps through me every time I touch him, my nerve endings like live wires, sparking with electricity. Everything inside me screams that this is right. He's right. How can anyone not understand this? How can I fight us?"
"Alec hisses and I wrap my palm around him, hot and hard. My body's screaming at mee, finally, finally, I'm being true to what I want."
"It's like the words are locked inside me and even I don't know how to find the key. I don't know how to be gay and play ball."
"It might not be this month or next month but one day you'll be ready. I know it. I couldn't love you like I do if I didn't believe that."
"We can make this work and one day it'll all be okay. We'll find a way to make it okay. One step at a time."
"Gay? I don't understand, Brandon" Mom's eyes are already getting glassy. Dad's are directly on me. "I think it's pretty self-explanatory honey."
"Loving Alec helped me decide who I want to be. That's all I ever had to do, was decide who that was. It's always been my choice."
A song for Alec and Brandon . . .
I adore Jessie J and when I was reading Rush, this song popped into my head and it wouldn't leave. The words are perfect for Alec and Brandon.
"Just be true to who you are."
"It's okay not to be okay."
"I nearly left the real me on the shelf."
"Don't lose who you are in the blur of the stars."
Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. Even when she was too busy chasing kids or working, writing stories was never far from her mind.
She feels a special pull to characters in their teens. There’s something so fresh and fun about the age that she adores exploring. Her husband says it’s because she doesn’t want to grow up. She doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing. Luckily for her, he doesn’t either.
Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. Whether reading or writing, she loves emotional journeys. It’s icing on the cake when she really feelssomething, but is able to laugh, too. She’s also a proud romantic at heart who has a soft spot for flawed characters. She loves people who aren’t perfect, who make mistakes but also have a big heart.
Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.
When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her.
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