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Senior year of college is for studying, partying, and having fun before getting serious about life. Instead, Chad’s days are filled with headaches and exhaustion, and his fencing skills are getting worse with practice, not better. Then there’s his nonexistent love life, full of girls he’s shunted to the friend zone. Is he asexual? Gay?
Grad student Warren Douglas could be out clubbing, but his roommate is better company, even without kisses. He’s torn up watching Chad suffer, gobbling ibuprofen and coming home early on Friday nights. If Chad weren’t straight, Warren would keep him up past midnight. They’re great as friends. Benefits might answer Chad’s questions.
A brief encounter with lab rats reveals Chad’s illness—he needs surgery, STAT, and can’t rely on his dysfunctional parents for medical decisions. Warren’s both trustworthy and likely to get overruled—unless they’re married. “You can throw me back later,” Warren says, and he may throw himself back after his husband turns out moody and hard to get along with, no matter how much fun his new sex drive is. Surgery turns Chad into a new man, all right…
…but Warren fell in love with the old one.
Warren and Chad are roommates. Warren is gay and Chad is… well, Chad is having a lot of trouble defining himself.
Chad, since he was about 15, has been having debilitating headaches and some pretty debilitating erectile dysfunction. He doesn’t link the two, but instead worries about his “manliness”. He decides to conduct an experiment after his most recent female failure and his buddy Warren is happy to oblige.
Though it is far from perfect, Chad is definitely more aroused by Warren than any of the previous girlfriends he’s had and the two embark on an exploratory friends to lovers relationship.
But that isn’t all there is to be discovered. Chad’s headaches are getting worse and Warren and his friend convince Chad to go to the doctor to test a theory they have about the source of Chad’s problems.
It turns out Chad has a brain tumor and it is the probable source of all his physical ailments.
The surgery to remove the benign growth is tricky and there is a chance that Chad will be left a vegetable if it goes wrong. Knowing how his family feels about “pulling the plug”, Chad doesn’t want to be left in a vegetative state and he doesn’t trust his family to respect his wishes. To circumvent this, he and Warren sign all the appropriate Medical Health forms but also decide to get married so that Warren will really have his power of attorney.
Once the surgery has been successfully completed there a lot of changes Chad will go through. Essentially puberty, again. The question is – now that Chad is “a new man” will he still want to be with Warren. The other question is – will Warren still want to be with him?
What a unique book! PD Singer is nothing if not an amazing researcher. You can tell she must have done a bunch of serious investigating into this disease. It was fascinating!
There were times when I was certainly skeptical. Two college guys getting married for the sake of a power of attorney was definitely a little on the unrealistic side, but for the most part, the rest of the story seemed to fall within the realm of possibility.
I appreciated the “real” sex in this book, and that it wasn’t always hot and sweaty and joyous. There were some hardships the couple went through that just rang true and felt very authentic.
I was thoroughly captivated by this story and was waffling, right up til the end, right along with Warren on whether or not Chad would figure things out or was the whole relationship about to crumble before their eyes.
I really recommend this unique book and this fascinating look at a relationship.
World Building/Characterizations 4
Overall 4.4 (rounded up to 4.5) of 5 hearts!