Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: 4 January 2017
Rating: 3/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters
TW: child sexual abuse, transphobia, homophobia, drug abuse, age gap
Summary: Alex has always wanted to help people, so when he finds a scared, homeless child, he doesn’t hesitate to take ‘Socks’ to the shelter where he works, Trinity House.
Over the course of four years, a chance meeting turns into friendship. When Socks turns eighteen, they’re excited, because it means they can move in with Alex—until Alex rejects them, and Socks realizes an affection they thought mutual was only ever one-sided.
Years later, Socks has become Trin, a psychiatrist who specializes in helping children. And they still want desperately to know why Alex rejected them long ago…
Order here: LessThanThreePress
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Disclaimer II: I’m a cis girl, so I do not experience transphobia like Trin or Alex do.
Outside the lines has an interesting premise. Alex is a young social worker in training, who works for a local LGBT homeless shelter, while he finishes his education. He finds a scared teenager with no name on the street and decides to take them to the shelter with him. That person chooses Socks as their name as they just got a pair of socks from the shelter. With lots of care Alex slowly manages to coax Socks out of their shell, but when Socks turns 18, Alex turns them away, not wanting to live with them, and they lose contact. When they meet again Socks has changed their name to Trinity, the name of the youth shelter. Some things are different, but not all. They slowly have to find their way back to each other again.
Socks’/Trin’s history is definitely hard to stomach. They were abused as child and there is a quite detailed description of that later on in the book. There is also a little girl who was also sexually abused, so if this triggers you please stay away from this book. There is also an age gap of 9 years between Trin and Alex, but they only get involved after Trin turned 24.
The story was incredibly sweet and I loved the beginning and the end, however I have quite a lot of problems with the fact that most of Trin’s adolescent years in the youth shelter and their time in college were simply skipped with only a few moments shown. But ten years past and we got barely any insight in them. This annoyed me a bit, especially since we have chapters from Trin’s point of view, so it really confused me that this was just left out. It also felt quite jarring, as I would have loved to get to know more about the characters and how they grew close. Left like this it felt very rushed and the character didn’t really get as developed as I had hoped.
Despite this, the reunion of Trin and Alex was great. I loved that Trin found someone who loved them, even though their romance was great rushed, (SPOILER) after their second date and their first time being intimate, they already decided to move in with each other, including Trin’s roommate Andy, and a patient of Alex. (SPOILER OVER)
I loved the incredible diversity in this book with Alex, a gay man, Trin, a bisexual nonbinary person and Andy, a pansexual transguy. This story is incredible diverse in this matter and I loved it.
In the end I did enjoy the story quite a bit, but I would have loved for it to be extended. As the story wasn’t that long I’m sure that could have been done, but it was still a lovely novel.