Book Reviews

Take the Long Way Home by J.A. Rock

Genre Gay / Contemporary / New Adult / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 08-April-2021

Book Blurb

Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is away at boot camp.?

Then Dresden meets Caleb, a judgmental environmentalist who’s hardly Dresden’s fantasy come true. But Caleb seems to understand Dresden’s desire for rough sex, big feelings, and, ultimately, safety. As Dresden becomes embroiled in a farmers market drama involving Caleb, a couple of bullying tomato enthusiasts, and a gang of vigilante vegans, he discovers he might be willing to trade a fantasy relationship with Evan for a shot at something real with Caleb.?

But Dresden fears telling quick-to-judge Caleb his secret, and the news that Gunner is coming home sends him fleeing to California for a chance to meet Evan in person and hopefully fall in love. When the encounter doesn’t go as expected, Dresden faces a choice: stay in California and carve out a new life, or take the long road home to his family, Caleb, and a past he must face if he has any hope for a future.



First edition published by Loose Id, January 2015.


Book Review

From the meandering beauty of the prose, to its quirky cast of characters, this novel reeled me in and held me spellbound throughout. Although there is undoubtedly a strong romantic plot, this is very much a coming-of-age tale, following the hero as he struggles to make peace with his demons and carve out a future for himself. J.A. Rock is a wonderful writer, with a profound empathy for the protagonists that shone through every word, and a lyrical style I totally fell in love with.

Since the death of his father six years earlier, high school senior Dresden Marich has been a mess. Having dropped out of school mere months from graduation, he discovers himself emotionally disconnected from his family and with no clear prospects for the future. Dresden also carries a secret, something dark and corrosive surrounding his older brother, Gunner, currently away at boot camp. Prone to rages that have him breaking anything to hand and lashing out at the people he loves, Dresden seeks solace in Evan, his online infatuation.

Caleb isn't exactly Dresden's fantasy realized. A serious environmentalist, he has a tendency to be critical of others, and earns a modest living making things from recycled wood. Yet he possesses a quiet steadiness and understands Dresden's needs in a way no one else ever has. But Dresden pulls away, afraid of Caleb's reaction if he were to learn his secret. Then Gunner comes home on leave, ripping open raw wounds, and Dresden faces a choice: confront his past head-on, or say good-bye to his family and any chance at a life with Caleb.

'Take the Long Way Home' is a real rollercoaster ride of emotions. We spend the entire story in Dresden's head, and given his anger and confusion, this is a fascinating if not always wholly comfortable place to be. For all his issues, however, his desperate desire to be loved and accepted touched me deeply. Caleb was the one who really stole my heart though. The blurb describes him as judgmental, and perhaps he is, but above all I found him to be compassionate and thoughtful, the perfect guy to provide Dresden with the security he craves.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 252 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-December-2018
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link