Series: Toronto Connections #3
Author: Cass Lennox
Pages: 245 (Paperback)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Source: For Review
Gigi Rosenberg is living his best life: performances in the big city, side gigs at a dance company, a successful drag act, and the boy of his childhood dreams who now adores him. Even if the boyfriend part isn’t the sparkly ride of passion he expected it to be, life is sweet. So when his sister’s wedding calls him back to his hometown, he sees an opportunity to show the hicks from his past how wrong they were about him. Only, his boyfriend isn’t quite on board.
Brock Stubbs left their hometown and his parents behind for a reason, and the prospect of facing them again is terrifying. He swore he’d never go back, but Gigi has made it clear refusal isn’t an option, and Brock will do nearly anything for him. There’s just one deal-breaker of a problem: Brock promised Gigi he was out to everyone, including his parents. He lied.
It’s magical to run into the sunset together, but staying the course takes work. For Gigi and Brock, going home feels like the finale of a long, disappointing year. Sometimes love isn’t all you need.
Growing Pains is very different than the previous two books in the series. This time we’re following Gigi and Brock, whom we met in Finding Your Feet. We already know a little bit about their past and how they winded up together again. However, there’s a lot more going on there and it’s certainly not happy. Gigi is heading back to their hometown for his sister’s wedding, but Brock is not with him. At least not at first, which means the book starts with a fight.
The tone of Growing Pains is very dark and heavy, which is not what I would have expected given Gigi’s very bright personality. But he is clearly not happy with Brock’s decision to initially stay behind without giving him a reason why. I was frustrated with Brock at first because he just refuses to talk to Gigi at all. But then I found myself frustrated with Gigi, because he is quite overbaring and doesn’t even stop to think that Brock may have a very, very good reason for not wanting to return home. This did not read like a Romance Novel for the most part, which threw me off. But once I settled into what it was, I did enjoy it a lot.
Growing Pains deals a lot with abuse. Brock doesn’t want to go home because he’s not out to his parents. He’s been lying to Gigi about that fact, which is not okay. But it was even more not okay for Gigi to pressure him into coming out. Brock’s father is highly homophobic to the point of physical abuse. Brock also had used self harm as a way to deal with being in that household. It is absolutely understandable for him to not want to be back there with a boyfriend in tow. Of course, things do work out at the end. Not in a sunshine and rainbows kind of way, but Brock faces his demons and comes out alive. I was very nervous for him for awhile, since I wasn’t sure how it would turn out since the book had not had typical Romance vibes.
Growing Pains was just a heavy read. I could see both Brock’s and Gigi’s sides as they were fighting, because there was such a lack of communication between the two that they couldn’t possible know when they were in the right or in the wrong. This felt realistic, if it was frustrating. Although that just shows that I was very emotionally invested in their story.