Not Just Friends

Jay Northcote
Not Just Friends
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Release Date
February 2014

Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone's life. One that's full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis is not prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max—given that Lewis had always assumed he was straight. Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis's jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction.

When Max's relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. But after a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends. Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don't go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents and needs Max's support more than ever. But Lewis isn't the only one who's conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Mar 19, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
163 people found the following review helpful
The first year of college is always a year of change for eighteen-year-olds. For Lewis, it's a year of revelation as well.

Lewis moves from Kent to Bristol where he meets his flatmates, all of them freshmen. One young man in particular catches Lewis' eye. Max is an out-and-proud gay man which intrigues Lewis who has called himself straight rather than buck the tide.

As he hangs out with Max, Lewis begins to feel the latent twinges of homosexuality that he's been repressing since he had a crush on one of his lower form friends. Suddenly Lewis is questioning whether he's gay or not, and coming up with the answer that he is.

Meanwhile, he's hanging out with Max and agrees to be his friend, only to watch the handsome, charismatic Max get a boyfriend who, after a few nights together, dumps Max. Now when Lewis is ready to get serious about Max, Max decides he's off boyfriends and only wants to be Lewis' really good friend.

Jay Northcote explores the ups and downs of freshman year and the changes young people go through as their world expands. Because it's based on the British school system, the book will be particularly interesting to Americans who are in college or who've been through it since some events and people are quite recognizable and some are completely different. This is an added dimension to a sweet story that isn't terribly remarkable, but definitely enjoyable.

Lewis is the kind of friend everyone wants to have. He's kind, considerate, and loyal. He's also conflicted about his sexuality. In high school he had a girlfriend, but wasn't into the heavy petting and sex that his peers were. They broke up as friends before heading off to their separate colleges.

Max, on the other hand, is openly gay and takes no guff about it. He even stands up to their macho flatmate who occasionally makes tasteless jokes about gays. What Max is hiding is his romantic heart, so when he's thrown over by Bruno, his first college crush, he's devastated.

As they lean on each other as friends, Lewis and Max not only learn who they are as individuals but who they are as a team. Readers will root for Lewis to change Max's mind about relationships because they are so perfect together.

Having read Jay Northcote's previous novel, Nothing Serious, I'm happy to report that she just keeps getting better as a writer. I can't wait to read her next gay romance.
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