Better Together by B.L. Maxwell
Caden’s parents throw him out of their hone at the age of 17 when they discover he is gay. His father literally dumps him on a street far from where they live and tells him never to come home.
Rio, who is also 17, has found himself being a parent to his younger siblings, Eron 6 and Adana 12, when their parents are deported back to Mexico. He goes to school and works, but money is tight and so he steals cars to boost his income.
Caden is desperate on the streets and takes refuge in the back of an unlocked car which is where Rio finds him while in the process of stealing it. Recognising a kindred spirit and unable to turn the poor ragged boy away, Rio takes him home. Caden gets a bath and a meal and the use of the couch which after months of hardship is heavenly. It helps that Rio is gorgeous and the attraction seems mutual.
Together, the boys start to rebuild their lives. They become a family and discover how to make ends meet and provide a stable and happy environment for the kids. Both boys need to graduate school and find better paid work. With the help of a few adults and Caden’s sister Chloe who they can trust, Rio applies for guardianship of his brother and sister, while Caden trains to become an accountant. In the background is their ever increasing desire for one another.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book for the feel good factor. I have read some YA before and found this one to be a little too insta-love and slightly unrealistic. It was romantic and cute with a touch of angst here and there, but it never really dipped below the surface. Transitioning from carefree 17 year old kids to responsible adults and parents in the blink of an eye, should have brought more problems, yet the author glosses through it all wearing rose tinted glasses. I can’t say this was an entirely bad thing as it left me feeling happy and really pleased for the way things worked out, but I would have preferred a few hard edges to the writing style. I couldn’t quite swallow the course of events as they occurred, yet something about the positive spirit of the theme, appealed to me.
Cadena and Rio make a gorgeous couple. Their voyage of discovery with regards to sex is simply adorable. The author has created characters that are full of positive attitude and ambition. They have big hearts and loving natures and that’s so nice. For younger readers this is a sweet, feel good, romantic love story full of hope and sentiment.