The Young Americans: Just Like Heaven – T.L. Bradford
Noah Sinclair is best described as an egotistical, pompous, anal retentive, asshat. And those are his better qualities. Lately, Noah has lost touch with his playboy character “Jace” on the show Americana and can’t quite put his finger on why. The studio decides it is time to shake up his character by making him an offer he can’t refuse, literally. They will introduce a new love interest for his character “Jace.” Only this time, there’s a twist.
Josh Hill is up a creek and sinking fast. He’s got no job, no money, no credit and is about to be kicked out of his apartment. Opportunity comes in the form of a job offer from the show Americana. Everything should be perfect; only there is one hitch. He will be the new love interest for Noah Sinclair’s character on the beloved show.
So, opposites are supposed to attract, right? Not so fast. No one said life was that easy. Both actors find themselves in untested waters. Will they be able to play a same-sex couple with no prior experience authentically? Well, they say practice makes perfect.
Carefree, fun-loving Josh and uptight, overbearing Noah, realize they need to make the best of their bad situation and are forced to find common ground. Over time, their roles in each other’s lives become blurred. Is their attraction fake, or is it real? To top it off, Noah has a dark skeleton in his closet that can prevent them from ever moving forward.
Can they get on the same page and save both of their careers and their relationship?
Or will they end up yesterday’s tabloid fodder?
(Just Like Heaven is a full-length, slow-burn love story. It can be read as a standalone. It contains a cast of fully-developed characters that encounter romance, heartache, laughter, and life lessons. The book has darker themes that may act as triggers to some readers. It contains adult language, mature themes, and is best enjoyed by those over the age of 18.)
Just Like Heaven is a case of life imitating soap. It’s just as long, just as melodramatic.
I think the author was trying to cram every popular trope possible. Noah and Josh started out as enemies, then friends then lovers. There was a slow-burn gay for you thrown in with both claiming to be straight. Then coming out issues with Noah refusing to even admit to himself he was gay because he was so traumatized by his abusive father.
Sometime later, we get Josh admitting he had a crush on his football teammate back in high school and revealing he was bisexual. There’s even the big breakup and a second chance romance of sorts.
All of these would have been one hell of an epic saga. However the book had an unfortunate tendency to tell rather than show. There were chunks and chunk of paragraphs of just telling.
The book could benefit from taking out some passages. For instance, there was Noah looking back to the time he was caught kissing a boy. The same scenario was later described in dialogue by the actor to Josh in almost the same way.
I wasn’t particularly drawn to the two MCs. Noah was as difficult as advertised. Josh was the more likable one, the type who’s friends with a person within 5 minutes of meeting them.
Their honeymoon phase was indeed sweet but on the whole they weren’t exactly the healthiest couple out there. There were petty jealousies and possessiveness. They don’t talk properly. They had better relationships with the other people they hooked up with. So their relationship wasn’t something I could root for.
On the upside, the other cast members were great supporting characters. I could see how their real life chemistry would translate well on screen. They were like the millennial version of the Brat Pack.
The Hill family Christmas was the most fun part of the book. Everyone had a blast at their Christmas Olympics. This was where Noah and Josh synced perfectly together. We get a glimpse of what they could be if they were simply regular guys named Noah Sinclair and Joshua Hill instead of Primetime Emmys’ Best Couple.
It wouldn’t be your favorite daytime soap without scandals and messy breakups. The big fight was ugly, the separation painful. But it wasn’t long before they started hooking up with other castmates. At this point, my interest petered out.
Narrator Corey H. Bennson was a major reason why I stuck around for as long as I could. He’s one of those narrators who acts rather than just reads. I really enjoyed his style.
I wish Noah and Josh well. I know they would eventually find their way back to each other. And stay there, hopefully.
Sorry, this was supposed to be posted yesterday but my blog’s I.P. address had some technical issues.
Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like