Monday, May 25, 2020

The New Normal (Gold Coast Collage #1) by L.J. Hayward



Amazon Link - Available in KU
Goodreads Link





Brian Stagliano’s life should be pretty sweet right now. Two of his closest friends are getting married, and he’s taking a new, exciting step in his career as a doctor. Most amazing though, his best mate has been given the all clear from cancer. But Brian’s normal has just been tipped A over T and the friendship he’s relied on for years is in danger. All because of five little words.

Andrew Fitzroy should be on top of the world. The cancer that’s haunted him is gone. He can finally get on with his life—except he doesn’t know what that life is anymore. Is he brave enough to come out as bisexual? Should he pursue architecture or stay in construction? Either way, Andrew knows happiness won’t be his until he has what his engaged friends have—love, joy, passion. So, he says those five little words to Brian—I’m in love with you.

Friends since childhood, Brian and Andrew have always been closer than brothers. Best mates. Nothing could ever tear them apart. Except for those five little words. Now, Brian’s not sure about so many things—their friendship, his own desires—and the foundation Andrew’s built his world on feels like its crumbling. But if they manage not to destroy everything they have together, Andrew and Brian might just find a new normal with each other.
 





My Rating - 3.5 Stars!


The New Normal, the first book in LJ Hayward's Gold Coast Collage series, is an interesting friends to lovers read.

This is the story of mixing a friendship with sex and feelings, and all the problems that come with doing so. Both men are floundering with what they want out of life, including if they want to be together. 

At it's heart, this is a story of struggling to define one's sexuality. In a time when Andrew has just survived cancer and has a second chance, he's struggling with his career choices as well as his love life. He's a closeted bisexual who fears taking his friendship with Brian to the next level. And Brian has his own doubts.

At the beginning, the reader is thrown into a large group of friends, which I found overwhelming. But soon after, things slowed down and we got to know the two main characters. Their story has a lot of subplots taking place, which all add to the character development and growth. 

The humor is fantastic, with a lot of banter and innuendoes sprinkled throughout. That is definitely the thing that kept me invested. The pace is slow, but it's not a mood killer. My biggest issue is that it's told in alternating third person pov. I would have preferred first person pov, as it would have brought a little more to the story. 

Overall, The New Normal is a good read. Friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and this LJ Hayward read is a decent, fresh take on this idea. I will definitely give the next book a try, as there is a lot of potential with this group of friends. 





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