I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.
Summary: Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.
This was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for! A healthy and sexy M/M romance that’s never too smutty and never fetishized, with important ownvoices mental illness representation.
Reid and Joaquim come from different backgrounds. Most of the novel focuses on them learning to know each other and especially learning how to be together. Reid has cyclothymia and while Joaquim learns to be with him and be respectful of him when he’s cycling and needs space, Reid also needs to learn to let go of some of the behavior and negative expectations he’s still carrying from a past unhealthy relationship.
I think this is an important book because of the mental illness representation and how openly it’s talked about. It’s also definitely not a “love fixes mental illness” novel, far from it in fact, and I wish more novels were this honest when it comes to building healthy relationships not in spite of but alongside a mental illness.
Rep: Brazilian gay MC, cyclothymic gay MC, M/M relationship
TW (taken from the publisher’s website):
• Discussion of mental illness, therapy and recovery
• A portrayal of a cyclothymic character who experiences rapid mood cycles and anxiety
• Non-graphic discussion of past self-harm and off-page relapse
• Non-graphic reference of a past suicide attempt