Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.
Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.
Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.
But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
290 e-book pages
Edition I read:
TJ Klune…I’m just, in awe of his writing. What can I say?
Part of me wants to climb into his head and get a better view of what goes on in there. It’s probably best I don’t do that. Not just because it would be creepy or anything. But because I might get in the way of his synapses doing whatever it is they do. And then there’s the chance I wouldn’t find my way out so lost in the wonder of his thoughts.
So, I’ll be content that he’s writing this stuff down and sharing it with the world. I’ll wait patiently for his next book. Probably.
This wasn’t my first ace book. It was, however, (I think) my first stoner hipster book.
All I can say about that last part is that if one is going to write about stoner hipsters, I think the least they can do is figure out a way to include a spliff in between the pages. Or for those of us on e-readers, have one eject at timely intervals from that little port on the side that has no actual redeemable purpose.
I don’t even SMOKE weed. Anymore. Much. Nor did I deeply inhale when passing through cannabis clouds on the streets of Amsterdam earlier this year. Nope. That was not me. I was with my mother, so that didn’t happen.
I’m a liar.
That sooooo happened.
TJ’s stories are fresh. They’re honest. They’re warm and fuzzy. They’re hilarious, usually. Even when they’re comedy they sock me right in the feels. Even when they’re more serious, they make me laugh in between bouts of Wookie Cry Face.
No WCF in this book for me this time. I did tear up in a few places with Gus’s memories of a really great dad we never got to meet. And also, I truly felt in my gut the depth of love and affection the quirky people in his life had for him. Lots and lots of heartfelt feels.
This story was swathed in comedy. My kind of LOL comedy that, admittedly, doesn’t always sync with TJ’s. It did this time, in a big way. I’d heard it was more “subdued” in this book. I disagree. While it didn’t bash me over the head like in a few of his other books in ways I didn’t care for too much (but could still appreciate with occasional chuckles), I was regularly, literally, laughing out loud on nearly every page of this book. Nearly every paragraph gave me a chuckle or an embarrassing snort.
I like sexy stories. Stories that are fuuull of sex. But I’m finding that, the more I read Romance and Erotica, I really like intimacy just as much—sometimes more.
I think it’s hard to convey intimacy that feels authentic. So many times it’s all wrapped up in the sex…and it doesn’t have to be. I kind of think it shouldn’t be in order to make long-lasting love more believable.
TJ does it here successfully. He had to. One of he heroes of this romance is asexual. Being a romance, it had to meet some criteria of a mutual bond of affection that grows into love and gets to an HEA the reader can believe in. This time, we had to understand and embrace that sex wasn’t going to be a factor. It had to remain true to character—and not snap him out of an identity by the wonders of magical cock.
How do you be normal?
You don’t. Because what the fuck is normal anyway? You just be you. And believe and hope that there are people and a person that will love you for all of it. There’s someone out who doesn’t think you’re weird just because you like grilled cheese grape jelly sandwiches, or because you sing loudly with your headphones on while riding the bus, or have fictional conversations—out loud in your shower—with people you’ll likely never meet (in your shower or otherwise). Own it. Own all of it.
Being ace, being bi, being…anything…introverted, vegetarian, llama enthusiast—whatever it is that you are, like, love, or believe in that defines and makes you all that is you—is not something that anyone can expect another person to change. It’s a matter of finding your tribe and the person—or persons—who accept you, and love you, and embrace you for WHO YOU ARE.
And, the wondrous thing about humanity is that sometimes our tribe might include a wide variety of sorts that don’t exactly mirror us. But, they love us just the same. They encourage, support, advise, defend, get our jokes, get us, call us out on our bullshit, want us in their life, want good things for us, and all the other things that make us belong—and we want the same for them.
Duuuude. I got way more introspective and philosophical than I intended. How’d that happen without herb?
The ending…I can only emphatically assume that there will be a sequel. Right? RIGHT?
No pressure. Well, some pressure. Because WTF?
This review also posted on GoodReads.