Slide - Garrett Leigh ***This is not a series, this is a single novel divided in two volumes.***

Last night I dreamt of Ash and Pietro...


"For the first time in my life, home was where my heart was, and I'd left my heart in Chicago."




Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world... It's hard to get by just upon a smile...

I hate reviewing books I love. I hate it, because I don't find the words. Not even in my own language. I hate using the terms "perfect", "awesome" or "wowable". I'm glad I can't say this book is perfect because it's not, although I can't deny it's awesome and wowable. I just hate saying those words, because they are cliched as hell and that's unfair for this book. What can I tell instead? The plot? There is no plot here. And that's fine for me, really. I just lived in them, breathed with them, fucked with them.

I love you, fucker.

Let's do that.

There is no epic scenario here. But I love epic, and this book felt epic in all its mundane existence. The MCs are normal people, and have normal problems, and not as normal troubles. But nothing is told, nothing. Everything is shown. And that's more than enough for me.

I'd like to compare it with that saying: Cold hands, warm heart. It's usually used in the literal form, when you find someone with cold hands, you say it. But the meaning is that someone who is quiet and cold in the outside then is very passionate in the inside. I think it suits the MCs perfectly, above all Ash, who is distant and apathetic but in the end he's tender and devoted to Pete. Pete is more like the "protector", and he seems the strong one, the one who pushes them both forward. I also take that saying as something literal, because I can't shake that feeling, the feeling of a warm bubble in the cold winter in Chicago. Everything felt achingly tactile. It felt warm, but warm inside. I will always carry with me the sensation of warm bedding, warm touches and warm breath. I will always carry with me the cold nights, the endless exhaustion and the everlasting cuddling. I will always carry with me the long silences and the short smiles.

Oh, and that crazy big bed... Made me smile. Too big for one person alone.

It wasn't insta-love. I'm lying. It was insta-love for ME, but not for them. For them there were no phases, it was all so smooth, it just slid into its place without me being aware of it. I felt like a sponge, I absorbed everything from them, nothing was a waste. One scene, the first feelz, I was captive. If only life was as simple as that! But that's jumping the gun, there is nothing simple here, but the feeling is so deceiving I almost believed it.

The atmosphere is depressing and sad, but not in a bad way, but in an under-the-spell way. It's like walking in a fog, it enveloping you, you inhaling it, you exhaling it. I felt wrapped in sadness and the humid air stuck to me like a second skin. But the skin felt good and right and meant to be there. I didn't want to slough it, and I am not ready to shed it yet.

It's gloomy and nostalgic, like the feeling those romantic authors form the 19th century must have had when they wrote those poems with graves and cliffs and storms, but without those graves and cliffs and storms actually existing. We have an urban jungle, the L and the lighted nights. Chicago. When I read a book it can be set anywhere in the world, in a city in the USA, in Australia, in Europe... wherever the author chooses. But I will always forget it, because that love story could have been developed anywhere else, as in the end the background is not that important. But that doesn't happen here. If some years from now I find a Trivial question asking me where Ash and Pete fell in love, I would immediately answer "Chicago" without any kind of doubt. Chicago is the third character here, it's a city that felt alive, moving at the same time as Ash and Pete did. It's not easy to achieve that, to be able to portray it with words only and be that memorable and that inspiring. No long and boring descriptions about it, but it's transpired in every action and detail and character. This story has a strong sense of place, turning the cold outline of the skyscrapers into something romantic and dreamy.

The tortured heroes remain the same as in those poems, proper Garrett Leigh TM. This book oozes high quality angst but it exudes high quality comfort and high quality healing, too. I can't erase the sensation it's not a story about a relationship, but a story about loving someone, and about your life being loving that someone. There is a difference, it a subtle one. We follow one of them at a time, and we see them first as flatmates, then as friends, and finally as lovers. Their understanding is complete, it felt like a perfect simbiosis, as it leaves nothing untouched. They walk on every square of the board but not as enemies, but hand by hand. But this new and shining thing takes them both by surprise and as they have to play it by ear, mistakes are made, and consequences are triggered. And not necessarily good ones.

I mentioned before this book is not perfect. It's like when you see a pretty face on a photo and you think that person is angelical. But if you concentrate very hard, you find out the little details are not that beautiful, but as a whole it's harmonic and captivating. But you don't stop to concentrate that hard, you only want to look that photo forever, because it transports you to another place and you don't want to shatter the illusion.