Book Review: Just Friends by Saxon James

Just Friends

Author: Saxon James
Series: Never Just Friends, book 1
Publisher: May Books (August 21, 2020)
Kindle edition, 303 pages
Romance, New Adult Contemporary Romance
Goodreads

Summary

ROO
Five years ago, I walked away from Sunbury, Oregon, and left my best friend behind.
The move was supposed to get my life on track. I even had a list.
Life changing epilepsy surgery. Check.
See the world. Check
Get over my straight best friend … Not exactly.
No matter where I go or who I meet, I can’t let Tanner go.
I’m back to tell him how I feel. To get the closure I need once and for all.
Only now I’m here and falling for him all over again, it’s getting harder to say the words.
Because once I have my closure, I’ll be gone.
And this time it will be for good.

TANNER
When my best friend, Roo, left for Australia, it was the worst day of my life.
I thought we’d have each other always.
But Roo needed the surgery so I let him go, thinking he’d come straight back.
Five years is a long time.
Now he’s here, all I want is to hold on tight.
I need to show him what he means to me.
The problem is, I’m not exactly sure what that is.
My draw to him has always been confusing and different—everyone in town says so. But I struggle to understand it.
All I know is I won’t survive him leaving again.
And I’ll do anything to make him stay.

Just Friends is a best friends-to-lovers romance with an oblivious MC, only one bed, and terrible kangaroo jokes.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

AHHH this book. *wistful sigh*

Okay. Okay okay. I will try to organize my thoughts about this awesome book. I can’t even words about how much I love both Roo and Tanner. OHHH Tanner. *shakes head* So like a lot of friends to lovers romance that are queer, Just Friends is one of those “I’m secretly in love with my straight best friend” friends to lovers romances. Toss in a little mutual pining (even if one party doesn’t realize precisely what TYPE of love he feels…) and a dash of forced proximity, and voila! You have this beautiful gem of a book.

Roo and Tanner already have a strong friendship (with a bit of a painful hiatus in there) on which to base their budding relationship, so the added spice of Roo worrying he’s influencing Tanner’s actions somehow and Tanner worrying about coming on too strong (which is hilarious, actually) seemed like a really realistic set of issues a couple like these two might have to deal with. I will admit I cried a little bit when Tanner came out to his parents. I wish every person’s coming out story went this way, haha!

The chemistry between Tanner and Roo is just… woo. *fans self* Their best-friends banter back and forth is so great, and I adore Tanner’s sunshine to Roo’s grump. I laughed out loud (more than once) at the reactions of their friends and townsfolk to Roo and Tanner’s amazingly close friendship, I will admit! I’m really looking forward to these two showing up as side characters in the other books in the series to see how they’re doing and spend more time with them.

This is the first book in the Never Just Friends series. All the books can be read as stand-alones, but the characters to pop in and out of each others’ books. I recommend reading in order, but as this is book one it’s a great place to start! I love this small town and this awesome group of friends, and can’t wait to read more of the Never Just Friends series!!

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