Book Review: Friendly Fire by Saxon James

Friendly Fire

Author: Saxon James
Series: Never Just Friends, book 4
Publisher: May Books (August 16, 2021)
Kindle edition, 229 pages
Romance, New Adult Contemporary Romance
Goodreads

Summary

RAFE
It started in high school.
We grew apart. Bit by bit, then all at once.
The friend who was my ride or die suddenly wanted nothing to do with me.
Now Cam’s back from college, living in the house next door, and pulling stupid pranks just to annoy me.
Between my intense family and my failing relationship, I’m struggling enough without his antics.
But Cam won’t go away. And I’m not so sure I want him to.

CAM
It started with a smile.
A touch.
A shared look of mischief.
Rafael Ortega stole my heart before I realized it was mine to give away.
We were best friends from the time we were in diapers right up until the unthinkable happened: he started dating.
I put distance between us to save myself, but now I’m back, willing to do anything for his attention again.
Because the only thing worse than Rafe breaking my heart …
Is him not getting a chance to.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’m not even sure what tropes to tag this as… It’s former friends turned enemies sort of to lovers? But also sort of childhood sweethearts to lovers but sort of not? Definitely second chances at least!

I really liked Cam from when he appeared in book three, Getting Friendly, and I like him even more in his own book! He’s so FUNNY and mischievous, and I love that he acts like a second-grade boy in trying to get Rafe’s attention. He very much has an attitude of “better to get negative attention than no attention at all” and it just kills me. Rafe I mostly just felt bad for. He tries to hard to live up to these unrealistic small-town expectations and it’s slowly killing him inside. I really loved the ace representation and the exploration of who you are and how the physical and emotional aspects of how and who people love are such a broad spectrum. Cam may be a bit of a pain in the butt sometimes, but he is really there for Rafe when he’s needed most.

Content warnings for homophobia, sexuality and religion, and discussion of conversion therapy. Also probably depression though it’s never directly spelled out. Friendly Fire in overall tone and content feels a little heavier than some of the others in this series.

This is the fourth book in the Never Just Friends series. While technically each book can stand alone, this series is about a group fo friends that very interconnected and I highly recommend reading in order. Rafe has his little blowout that sets up some of his conflict in book one, Just Friends, and Cam plays some small side roles in book three, Getting Friendly.

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