Sometimes to find love, you must first learn forgiveness.
A dozen years, two thousand miles, and a law degree after high school, Rafi Steiner continues to harbor resentment toward Isaac Jones, his childhood bully turned NBA star. When Isaac appears at Rafi's favorite restaurant acting like a long-lost friend, Rafi bluntly dismisses him.
But Isaac is tenacious and he has his heart set on the grown-up version of the boy he always wanted and never forgot. The way Isaac sees it, he and Rafi are perfect for each other, if only he could sink the most important shot of his life: his one shot at forgiveness.
I hated him. Unequivocally, absolutely, and in every way possible. He was responsible for making my teen years a living hell—if not single-handedly, then at the very least, he held the starring role. Or, in terms he would have understood, he was the quarterback, the pitcher, the forward, the…fuck it, he led the “hey, faggot, nice hair” brigade. Not that it was always about my hair. Sometimes it was my clothes. Other times it was the way I walked or the way I talked. I lived in anticipation of the day he’d come up with some way to taunt me for breathing. Ass. Hole.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when he walked in the door of my favorite restaurant, two thousand miles away from where we grew up, and had the nerve not only to recognize me, but to not pretend like he didn’t. I mean, who…
How we see our lives is really just a collection of impressions seen from our viewpoint, not how events actually unfold. Usually we don't get a chance to explore how right or wrong our impressions are, but go through the years believing what we think happened is true. But what if our impressions are skewed? Cardeno explores this idea in a nifty little novella that has the protagonist reevaluate his life from someone else's perspective. ... This delightful premise and the ensuing untangling of memories could be a study in strum und drang, but Cardeno approaches it with a deft hand and a light touch, making the story one of those "awwwww" moments in reading.... Cardeno's story is a little gem that will tickle even the most jaded readers and brighten their day.
Cardeno visits Emile City again! And I couldn't be happier. In this short story we meet Rafi and Isaac. In school, Isaac tormented Rafi mercilessly. Suddenly he shows up in Emile City and acting as though he and Rafi were friends. Rafi is offended that Isaac would dream of coming near him again, after all he put him through. Isaac is kinda stalkerish scary but you know what? It totally works for me. The whole plot of the story makes sense, and I found myself hoping that Rafi wouldn't dismiss a chance at happiness, especially after Isaac comes clean about what he's doing in Emile City.... Cardeno knows how to pull my heartstrings and does it very well.
I love this growing up and accepting yourself themed book. I cannot stop reading it, makes me smile and believe true love really can conquer all.
It was cute, it was funny and it was sexy.