Author: Megan Erickson
Publication Date: 20. September 2016
Rating: 3/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters
TW: character death, cheating
Summary: 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…
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Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Levi’s sister just died while on deployment in the Middle East. To deal with his grief Levi, a former reality TV star, decides to hike the Appalachian Trail by himself. It’s not easy and at first every second reminds him of his sister, as they had planned to do this trip together. One night he meets the mysterious stranger Thad staring at the moon. For some reason Thad decides to continue hiking with Levi and slowly the two men grow closer.
Levi used to be the star of the Reality TV Show “Trip League”. Despite how they portrayed him there, he is not that stereotypical gay man. Mostly he doesn’t want to be Levi Garber, the celebrity, anymore, he just wants to be Levi. He is hurt from his recent loss and you can see how much he loved his sister. His relationship with his mother is also amazing. He is a funny and sweet character. Sadly he has some moments where he truly acts TSTL (like not looking where you’re going in the middle of a swamp and ups stumbling into a hole…) which really annoyed me.
Thad is a broody loner. He is very closed off and doesn’t really talk much. At first he seems like kind of a douche bag, but when he and Levi get closer he slowly starts to open up more. But after their first shared night Thad shuts down completely again and pushes Levi away. The hurt he faced in the past is too painful for him to bear.
The story is told from Levi’s perspective and since Thad is very quite about his actual feelings he is a mystery for the readers for a long time. I absolutely enjoyed this
Levi’s and Thad’s relationship starts very slow, but develops nicely. Despite the story being not a fluffy one, the loss never overwhelms the narrative. I really enjoyed the portrayal of the hike. The character development in this novel was also an amazing one.
Personally I found the Texts from M to be quite annoying. M’s part in the story for me didn’t really feel right and it just took me out of the story.
The ending is definitely a nice one, with lots of hope for the future. However I didn’t enjoy the epilogue, with random pairings from the other books appearing. I could have done well without it.
All in all the story and characters were great, but there were some parts that I didn’t really enjoy.