Happy Book Birthday to Chasing Hope by Gwen Martin! I’m so happy and honored to be a part of the Gay Book Promotions Release Blitz for this heartbreaking and beautiful book that is full of pain and hope, grief and joy, loss and love, and amazing characters!
Chasing Hope is of the most authentic stories I’ve ever read about the devastating grief and guilt, and how to find the strength to go on living, after being through the worst thing that can happen to a parent; losing your child. But at the same time as it dealt with all this hurt and loss, it was also such a sweet and heart-warming small town, second chance, m/m romance. I binge-read this book with an aching heart, unable to put it down until I knew what would happen to Sean and Jonah, sobbing and smiling at the same time.
The story follows twenty-seven years old Sean, who - despite his young age - has already lost everything worth living for. In an attempt to get away and build some kind of new life, he moves to a town where no one knows about him, the death of his child, or his failed marriage. Here, his life collides with the almost forty, somewhat disillusioned, owner of the local diner, Jonah, who had to give up on his university plans and move back home to take care of his dying father. But when the two of them meet, Jonah finds a new spark in his life, and Sean slowly starts to smile and feel again. Maybe there is hope after loss and a chance for love again for them both?
This book deals with a lot of heavy topics, such as loss of a child, guilt and grief, PTSD, depression and trust issues, but it was so wonderfully written and had so much hope, love and heart-warming friendships that it never felt too heavy. No matter how raw and authentic the descriptions of how devastating and life-shattering the loss of a child were, it was never all darkness and sorrow, there was always a hint of light at the end of the tunnel.
And the characters were amazing and so real and multifaceted. And adorable! I rooted immediately for both Sean and Jonah and my heart ached for them both in their struggles with insecurity and fear to open up and be brave enough to love again. Sean’s bisexual awakening and his feeling of being on thin ice and not really knowing what to do - of being something of a virgin again when being intimate with a man - was so well and realistically described. As was his feeling of guilt for being happy when his daughter was dead, and the way he reacted to certain triggers. I understand why Sean acted the way he did in some of the situations (trying to keep it vague here not to spoil anything…) but it nevertheless broke my heart and made me read the book feverishly, hoping for the HEA both Sean and Jonah deserved so much to come, but fearing that all the broken things wouldn’t be possible to mend.
All in all, I absolutely loved this book! Chasing Hope was a gripping, devastating and utterly honest story about love and grief, hope and loss. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, showing that it’s never too late for second chances if you’re willing to chase them.
Thank you to Gay Book Promotions for the ARC and blog tour invitation for this gem! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez