Title: Focus on Me
Author: Megan Erickson
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin imprint)
Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can't help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride. Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin's Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley's eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn't an option…
Focus on Me is all parts sweet and sad and funny. What you get here is two guys meeting by chance and taking a bit of a trip together. Colin is on his way home, bothered with not being able to finish college and not knowing what he's good for, and Riley is just on his way out, trying to find something that will make him happy before he's swept under the waves of his depression. What they become to each other is something meaningful, something that the other needs, but sometimes that isn't enough.
Colin is a supportive guy, he helps Riley lighten the load, helps him smile. And Riley feels more like a person with Colin around. They compliment each other and help each other. But road trips and kisses can't solve everything. The best thing is that them being in love doesn't fix their problems. The co-dependency is strong, but both acknowledge that it can't continue. They still have to work hard, still have to put in the effort in the other parts of their lives, in order to be happy and mentally healthy.
I wonder how I can phrase this thought of mine, how I can do it correctly. Colin and Riley are gay, but this isn't about them being gay. It's about them being people, being in their early 20's and feeling lost and confused. It's about them trying to find what's next. They're people. And that's what I love about this book.
This book says a number of things. That it's okay to lean on people, that it's okay to be sad, but that you can never give up. There's always something out there, someone out there, for you to focus on and pull yourself up. But you have to make that hard choice to want to change for yourself.
I really enjoyed this book because of what and who is in it. Smart people, a fun road trip, supportive family members, caring friends, and a hopefully accurate look at mental illness pre- and during treatment. If you enjoyed Trust the Focus, love romance, or are looking for something with a happy ending, give this a read.
Quick note that as with most new adult titles out there, there is some explicit sexual content.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from NetGalley.)