Book Title: Just Friends (Never Just Friends #1) by Saxon James
Published: August 27, 2020
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Five years ago, I walked away from Sunbury, Oregon, and left my best friend behind.
The move was supposed to get my life on track. I even had a list.
Life changing epilepsy surgery. Check.
See the world. Check
Get over my straight best friend … Not exactly.
No matter where I go or who I meet, I can’t let Tanner go.
I’m back to tell him how I feel. To get the closure I need once and for all.
Only now I’m here and falling for him all over again, it’s getting harder to say the words.
Because once I have my closure, I’ll be gone.
And this time it will be for good.
When my best friend, Roo, left for Australia, it was the worst day of my life.
I thought we’d have each other always.
But Roo needed the surgery so I let him go, thinking he’d come straight back.
Five years is a long time.
Now he’s here, all I want is to hold on tight.
I need to show him what he means to me.
The problem is, I’m not exactly sure what that is.
My draw to him has always been confusing and different—everyone in town says so. But I struggle to understand it.
All I know is I won’t survive him leaving again.
And I’ll do anything to make him stay.
Just Friends is a best friends-to-lovers romance with an oblivious MC, only one bed, and terrible kangaroo jokes.
Just Friends — for some reason it took me quite a while before I finally get the title despite the numerous emphasis of everyone in this book lol.
2020’s got to be the year of re-reads. I’ve done quite a bit of them from the books I’ve read last year, but Just Friends is something that I re-read almost right after finishing it.
It has the trope that I recently liked which is the best-friends-to-lovers trope. The story is a feel-good, warm, and impossibly sweet story, yet, for some reason, it works because the characters make me believe that it’s not impossible to have the kind of relationship Roo and Tanner have because they’re them, and their connection is different from the rest of the crowd. Got to love that touchy-feely thing they got going on. I often find myself smiling while reading this book.
The MCs are Royce aka Roo and Tanner. They are both in their early twenties, but they sound late twenties. Roo is epileptic, and Tanner has ADHD, and I love that they are not the usual abled MCs. They prove to be more than just what people usually think when they have those conditions. Besides, everyone deserves a happy ending. Though I’m quite worried about Roo swimming especially when they roughhouse in the pool. Wouldn’t that be dangerous for someone with epilepsy? At least, have some caution when swimming?
My favorite part is during the bi-awakening stage of Tanner because, well, tension. I live for it. Though, same with angst, it’s pretty low-key, and I already know and feel safe that their relationship will be smooth-sailing despite whatever the cynical part of Roo says.
While I like and enjoy this book for the fluffy feels, there is no other stronger pull. The events happen because they should be like they are there because it is what is needed to happen. This is also riddled with tropes so I can already guess what will come next. What’s more, this book features a dual POV which is both a curse and a blessing because it lessens the tension. And it doesn’t help that Tanner’s realization came before the confession which reduces the dramatic irony.
I hope this becomes a series, and I hope that the next characters would be Circus and Rowan judging from the glimpses and small build-up thrown here and there in the book.