A single stroke can change your world.
Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.
Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.
Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.
From cover to end, this was a magnificent book. I love every aspect of it, from the stunning cover art to every single character and the way an unusual love story comes to lighten up the heart of such beautiful persons. It was an absolutely joy to read it.
Xander is an amazing artist with zero social skills. Skylar, a frat boy, and son of a very powerful family with a bright future ahead and the ability to transform everything he touches into a success. When Xander is forced to work with Skylar for his senior project, both men have a plan in mind. But as friendship start taking place, they both start looking things from a different point of view and they begin an unexpected journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
This might be a romance, and I wasn’t at all disappointed in that area, but there was so much more about this book than only a love story. It brought so many subjects to the picture that this book ended up being an enlightening experience. It delivered so much more than what I was expecting from it. This is the first time I’ve read a book from this author, but I feel like I’ll be reading more of her work soon.
What I liked the most about the book were the characters. It had some great secondary characters, but as expected, Skylar and Xander won my heart. I think it’s impossible not to love them. I had some struggles with Skylar at the beginning but as I keep reading and start getting to know him a little bit more, I came to care for him as much as I did Xander. They both had extremely complex personalities and it was beautiful to slowly uncover those layers to get to the core of who they were. I love the time taken to get there, and I also love the way the romantic part of their relationship wasn’t rushed and the sexual part of it wasn’t at all what traditionally is expected. I was concerned about how things might work but I couldn’t be happier with the result.
One important part of the book was art, and it was something I loved about it. It is a relevant part of the plot and, at some point, the way their relationship started. It was so nice to try to understand something I’m completely ignorant about, as it was manga. I might not know anything about it, but it was lovely to see the passion the characters had for it and get to learn something about it.
Another important subject was family. It was so interesting to see their interactions and got to understand how everything became the way it was and how much or how little the family had to do with it.
Probably the only issue I had with the book was that there were times, very few but were there, when I had a hard time trying to connect with Skylar and Xander’s emotions. Other than those few moments, I really loved the book. It was very well written and I would recommend it to any reader. It might be a M/M pairing that I get not everyone would love, but there was some interesting cultural aspect and extremely well made characters that I can’t help want to share with everyone.