Hey readers! Ethan here on this beautiful Thursday evening (is it freezing where you are? Geez, you'd think it was November, not May!) bringing you yet another awesome review. This time we've got a review for a NA that was a bit off from my 'norm'. What are we raving about? Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson! Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:
As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.
But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.
Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding
Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.
Find Megan Erickson
I've been sitting on this review for a long time, because I honestly don't know how to put all my thoughts into words. I write, often, in my reviews that I don't like romance novels. That I don't like this, or that, or what have you. I write that I don't oftentimes devour novels with content such as 'fill in the blank', but you know. All of this is starting to change. I've been at this over a year now and I've learned that my bookish mind is constantly conforming to new things. Every day I'm able to better relate, to better grasp, to better appreciate the world an author is writing in. Even if it is one I have no knowledge or experience in, a few select authors are really pulling me into the fold. Showing me that reading shouldn't ever be about content, but about quality. Megan Erickson, you ma'am, are a literary goddess.
It's funny, you see, that I finally sat down and read this out of all the Megan Erickson novels out there. Do you guys ever have that feeling that an author is everywhere? Like every time you turn on your social media there is someone raving about them? Every ad you see is for their books? That's how I came across Megan Erickson. It was a sign, she was everywhere!
One of my closest bookish friends, the incredible Ashley from BooksbyMigs is one of the biggest Erickson fans I have ever spoken with. She pimps out Erickson and her works on a daily basis. It was finally through her ravings that I took the plunge. I was looking for something different. Something in an NA contemporary that I hadn't seen before. Something that was going to be equally thought-provoking and feels-worthy. Ashley pimped out this series like none other, I dove in and she was right: I've come out of it a changed reader!
First and foremost, this novel is a m/m NA contemporary romance novel. This means that it is definitely not for everyone. On most days it wouldn't even be for me. I'll go ahead and touch on this part first. Yes, there are multiple m/m sex scenes. No, they are no 'dumbed down'. They are extremely well-written and emotionally driven. Erickson is one of those unique authors who can write sex and have it full of meaning and emotion. It doesn't have to be all fun, all the time. Erickson has a great balance of the fun and the emotional side of physical side of romance. I will admit there were a couple of pages that I skimmed, but overall, nothing was too graphic or uncomfortable for me to read in the least bit. Let this be a warning to anyone who isn't receptive to reading a m/m read that this may not be the novel for you.
In terms of plot, Trust the Focus wins props for being one of the most unique storylines I have ever come across in a work of New Adult literature. It's also a road trip novel, one of my favorites! I love a good road trip story. The story follows Justin and Landry, two best friends (with some more than friendly tension between them) traveling across the country to spread the ashes of Justin's recently deceased father. Along the way they find fun, adventure, and love. Crazy how that happens, right? I can't even hardly ride to Wal-Mart with my best friend. The story has lots of fun scenes involving amusement parks, big city escapades, and some beautiful scenery. Erickson has such a knack for writing settings, that I felt I was right alongside the roadtrip, taking in the country from the window of a Winnebago. While the novel focuses greatly upon the relationship between our two main characters, there are plenty of fun sub plots that make it about so much more than romance. By the end of the novel you definitely feel as though you've been on a road trip, in the best way possible! All the memories, without the crippling gas bill and leg pain from sitting upright in a vehicle for days! The only negative thing I'd like to add is that the novel really didn't end on the note I was hoping it did. I was a little confused by a few, very minor, details that seemed to come out of left field, but overall the plot was very fulfilling and left me with a great sense of hope for the future of the New Adult genre.
When it came to the characters, Erickson knocked it out of the park. The novel is definitely character driven and there was a lot of character development to be had. In the short span of a few hundred pages, we really get to know our main characters on an intimate level. It's crazy how real Erickson was able to make both Justin and Landry. I really appreciated that. When Justin gives in to his feeling for Landry, his entire life is turned on its' head. It was an incredible emotional and mental journey for Justin and I was both intrigued and impressed the entire time. Justin really does have a crazy story during this novel, but its' Landry who really balances out the crazy. Landry's character was written to perfection. His fun quirks and positive attitude were exactly what this novel needed to make it excel in my books. I love great character development, and Erickson killed it! There are tons of 'feels-worthy' moments here, so don't think you'll get off emotionally easy!
As with many novels of this nature, Erickson hits home with several important themes. The most important and prevalent one being to find yourself and stay true to yourself. A big part of this novel follows Justin's emotional journey to realize who he really is and way it will effect his life. For Justin, it's going to be a drastic change that will take years to acclimate to, but in the end the reader is left with many valuable life lessons about discovering one's true potential and the ability to find happiness and true love. Acceptance, coming of age, and family are also huge points in this novel that Erickson delivers to perfection. I was thoroughly impressed with her execution of this storyline and am anxious to see what she can accomplish next!
As you can see, I definitely had a lot of thoughts on the topic of Trust the Focus. It was an incredible read and I do believe I came out of it a better person. I am so glad that my friend recommended this series to me. Erickson has found herself another fan in me. I'm not quite sure what to add of hers to my TBR next, but I am pretty pumped to check out the second novel in this series, Focus on Me, releasing later this summer. I hope I like it just as much! Now I'm not here to say that I plan on reading a lot of m/m novels are here, but I have to say that all five I have read and reviewed so far have been amazing to me!
I am so excited to be giving Trust the Focus a very well-deserved 5-star review. Definitely outside my normal read, but an excellent addition to the NA spectrum. I can't wait to see what comes next for Erickson! I highly recommend this novel to any fans of the NA contemporary romance genre. You won't be disappointed!
Be on the look out for
Focus on Me
Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson. As you can see, I really enjoyed this read! What did you think? Sound like the read for you? Sound off in the comments below. Also, if you've read some of Erickson's other works, let me know what I should check out next! Until next time, Happy Reading!