Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
If childhood friends to enemies to lovers + a redemption story is your jam, I recommend Annabeth Albert’s Out of Character.
Jasper & Milo were best friends until high school, when Milo had a chance to turn popular jock & believed that necessitated leaving his best friend Jasper, a gamer who had recently attended a Rainbow Alliance meeting, behind.
Throughout high school Milo’s new jock best friends harassed Jasper & Milo said & did nothing.
Years later, when Jasper is in college & Milo is a college drop-out with a series of bad decisions behind him, they come back into each other’s orbit.
This story is sweet & thoughtful, not unlike the main characters themselves. I love seeing how they mature individually, especially Milo, who has a lot to reflect on & who wants to put actions toward becoming the person he hopes to be, & how their personal efforts make them better partners & vice versa.
The redemption story works for me, especially how Milo & Jasper have to reckon with his past behavior & figure out a productive & loving path forward, something made more difficult by the continued presence of Milo’s high school best friends—bullies—in his life & the fact that Milo hasn’t come out yet.
The characterization of Jasper as someone who constantly wants to be heroic is a little heavy-handed for me but the warm fuzzies this book constantly gave me—the lack of a present-day huge crisis between them (excepting their weighty high school past)—,the loveliness of Milo’s desire to change his life & his behavior—won me over time & time again.
4.5 ⭐️. Release date: 07/06.
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