Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Viking Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where—despite his social anxiety—he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

I have heard such amazing things about Julian Winters books, and I’ve been so eager to read them. I will admit that I was drawn in by the cover of this one. I mean, look at it. It’s just so happy and so full of joy. It also sounded amazingly geeky, and I knew it was going to be queer, so I was really, really looking forward to reading it.

There are some books that fill up your chest with something you didn’t know you needed. This book is one of those. It is so wonderful. It hit close to home in a lot of personal ways, and I hold so much love for it.

This book lets every character be so fully themselves, mess and all. Everything about them is presented just as it is. Sometimes it is messy, and sometimes it is painful, but that’s how life is, that’s how people are. There’s nothing about them that is hidden or tucked away; it’s all there and it is one of my favorite parts of this book.

The friendships was another thing I loved, especially since Isaac has a hard time making friends. Social interaction is almost painful at times for him, and oh my gosh did I get that haha. He’s awkward and doesn’t quite know how to carry on with the conversation and how he just doesn’t quite know how to people sometimes. But sometimes the best friendships come out of that. The people who sort of just let you in, awkwardness and all. Plus, I loved the friend group. Every single one of them was awesome, and I was not expecting to love them all as much as I did. But I did end up adoring them.

This book is also super freaking queer. I know that is probably obvious, but I feel like it is worth mentioning. Because it is super freaking queer and it is super freaking awesome. It’s about owning your queerness, becoming comfortable in it, exploring it, wanting to experience more of it, and wanting to see it reflected in stories.

That’s another thing I loved. I loved the comics that Isaac is obsessed with. I honestly wish they were real so I could read them myself, because dang, I love them so much. And I love the love Isaac has for them, and a whole bunch of other things that involve spoilers.

This book also deals with a lot of messy emotions. And they’re allowed to be messy, and sometimes the solution is messy and sometimes emotions just exist. Just, everything emotional about this book was so, so wonderfully done.

And the romantic storyline, oh yes, it is so amazing. Everything about it is very spoilerly, so I’m just going to say I love it and that it is spectacular.

This book is full of joy and messy emotions and friendship and love and so much more. It’s characters are so full, and I love them all. It’s such a good book.

Right Where I Left You comes out March 15, 2022! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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