What You Own
Title : What You Own
Author : A.M. Arthur
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 200 pages (e-book)
Published : November 29, 2013
Rating : ★★★
For Ryan Sanders, the Paige Community Center is more than a place where he teaches at-risk teens about musical theater. He found a sense of belonging there during one of the hardest times of his life. With the center facing a financial crisis, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the doors open—even soliciting fundraiser donations from Langley-Quartermaine Financial.
Adam Langley has a plan: survive an internship at his father’s company, finish college, get his trust fund, and find his former high school best friend Ryan and beg his forgiveness. In that order, because if Ryan does forgive him, Adam believes he’ll finally find the courage to come out to his wealthy, bigoted father.
Adam’s carefully considered plan is shattered when Ryan appears at the office a full ten months before Adam is ready, and Ryan is just as stunned. Against his better judgment, Adam gets involved with the fundraiser—and Ryan. Old feelings won’t be denied, and as Ryan and Adam reconnect, they realize neither knows the entire truth about the horrific night three years earlier that tore their friendship apart.
Twenty year old Ryan Sanders, along with Ellie, his best friend since their senior year of high school, volunteers at the Emmett Paige Community Centre for youth. When fundraising for the centre, Ryan finds himself at the offices of Langley-Quartermaine Financial – the CEO of which is also the father of his ex-best friend, Adam Langley. Once the closest of friends, Ryan hadn’t seen Adam for three and half years after an incident, and the helping hand of Adam’s father, tore them apart. When Ryan does run into Adam all the old feelings Ryan had been harbouring for his best friend come bubbling back up to the surface. And despite his cold demeanour, Adam is just as effected by Ryan’s re-appearance. Adam, believing in the charity Ryan and Ellie are representing and wanting to support his former best friend, convinces his father to become a major sponsor for the fund-raising event the centre will be producing. Both must find a way to work with each other despite their past.
Having met in their freshman year – Adam, an often shunned rich kid, and Ryan, a newcomer to the area – they quickly form a strong bond and become inseparable. Until, that is, a horrible event happens to them in their senior year, leaving both of them in the hospital. After that, Ryan hears nothing from Adam and they part ways.
What You Own is in first person POV that alternates between the two main characters with flashbacks written in a present tense, diary style that works quite well. The author utilises an almost conversational style. It’s very much like you’re listening to Ryan and Adam tell you their stories. I did find the short back and forth point of views, especially in the first few chapters, a bit too much. It made it difficult to really get a handle on either character. This did ease up somewhat with longer time given to each character before switching POV and I ended up getting a better sense of the characters. I think some of the problem I had with the POV changes was that they weren’t a break or a scene change but carried directly on from where the other character left off with the events happening and I found that a little jarring. That both point of views were told in first person didn’t help because I found myself being pulled out of the story repeatedly as I had to keep remembering whose head we were in.
While I liked this story well enough, for some reason I had difficulty really connecting with either it or the characters and I’m really not sure why. I think some of it is that it had only been a little over three years, and both characters were not even twenty-one, yet there was a lot of talk about years, as if it had been much longer and they were both several years older than they were. It just didn’t quite ring true. I never completely warmed to Adam’s character, either, although I did have some sympathy for his position.
I can totally see how another person might love it, but this story was merely okay for me. The first person alternating POVs distanced the story and I had no emotional investment in the characters. I mean, it was kind of like hearing about someone I didn’t know. While I wished them all the best and hoped things turned out well for them, it was in a vague kind of general way that I would have for anyone. It wasn’t a personal, fingers crossed, I really want good things to happen to my friends kind of wish. And being unfamiliar with Rent and its music, all of those references went right over my head. It had its sweet moments and, even though it didn’t quite work for me, may well be worth giving it a try for yourself.
Rated 3 stars by BookSmitten