High schooler Matt’s father is rich, powerful, and seemingly untouchable—a criminal with high hopes that his son will follow in his footsteps. Matt’s older brother Luke seems poised to do just that, with a bevy of hot girls in tow. But Matt has other ambitions—and attractions. And attraction sometimes doesn’t allow for good judgement. Matt wouldn’t have guessed that when he makes a new friend, one who is also carrying a secret. The boys’ connection turns romantic, a first for both. Now Matt must decide if he can ever do the impossible and come clean about who he really is, and who he is meant to love.
I’m actually surprised that I read this book as soon as I did. I’ve seen excitement for it on Twitter, which got me curious. It’s also queer, so it went on my list to definitely read, but I didn’t know when I would get to. It didn’t quite sound like something I would normally read, though I surprised myself by really wanting to give it a try.
I’m surprised that I actually enjoyed this book. There was a couple points where I thought I would DNF it or simply trudge through it, but not really like it. But, I actually really liked it! There were aspects that I kind of had to trudge through, though there were things that I liked enough to kind of overshadow them.
Alright, I guess I’ll start off with something I didn’t really like. I felt like there was so much filler in the writing, like descriptions that didn’t quite need to be there. For example, multiple lines about a sign hanging above the building. A building Matt was going into for a traumatic reason. It was like that throughout the book and it was kind of distracting at times.
The dialogue was off a bit for me too. It felt so awkward and borderline cringey. “Dude” was said so many times. I don’t want to say that this isn’t how teen guys talk since I’m not a teen guy, but it felt very forced. It was mostly the dialogue between Matt and Jason that felt this way, thought just a bit with everybody else.
This feels weird to say, but I would have liked for more of the mob. I kind of felt like a background piece. It is driving the plot in a lot of ways, but in a more abstract ways. I found everything to do with it fascinating and I feel like something really interesting could have been done with it. This book was a contemporary book, but I feel like it could have made a great action or thriller one too. Though that’s just my personal opinion!
Now on to the things I did like. I did like what part of the mob we did see. It was cool to kind of brush up against this dangerous life and to see Matt try to grapple with what they means for him and his life. I just found it really interesting. It was cool to see this dark life, where a character wants nothing to do with it. It made for a really cool dyanmic.
I also really liked Matt’s and Jason’s relationship. I feel like the beginning happened really fast, though it did even out. Plus, they were super adorable. Matt was in denial about his feelings for a very long time haha. I could sense their relationship was more than friends way before he did haha. Though, I did like how the emphasis was on friends, since friends can be just as good as a romantic relationship. I loved how Matt was desperate for a friend and how he wants to preserve a friendship any way he can. It was just really cool to see a YA book have a character who wanted a friend more than a romantic relationship.
There was also a twist that I thought was cool. I think it could have been foreshadowed a bit more, but it still added another really great dynamic to the book. I liked where it took it.
The ending was also something I really liked. While it wasn’t as explosive as I was expecting, I think there was an explanation for things that was really, really smart. It’s hard to explain it without spoiling it, but it was such a healthy decision, one that I was proud for a character for suggesting and proud for another character to do.
While there were a few things I didn’t really like, I still ended up enjoying this book! If you’d like a book with queer characters, some mob life, surprisingly cool brother relationships, and an adorable romantic relationship, you might like this one!
The Friend Scheme comes out May 26, 2020! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!
Thank you for reading!