Title: Right Where I Left You
Author: Julian Winters
Genre/s and Tags: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult, Queer/LGBTQIA+, Fiction, MM Romance
Kacen Callender meets Becky Albertalli in a deliciously geeky best friends-to lovers romance from award-winning author Julian Winters!
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?
Thank you to Penguin Teen and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Right Where I Left You follows Isaac Martin, he’s just graduated high school and has one last summer until he’s headed off to college. Isaac should be excited, except his best friend, Diego, isn’t coming with him. Isaac doesn’t know what he’ll do without Diego to help him. He wants to have the best summer ever with Diego before they’re separated. The two plan to go to Legends Con, but when Isaac is distracted by a cute boy and misses getting tickets, their summer plans are derailed. Instead Isaac is made part of The Six, the crew Diego games with. Isaac is wary, cue the social anxiety, but Diego’s friends are all bad.
This was such a sweet book. I really enjoyed Isaac as a character. His social anxiety is different from mine, but damn was it still relatable. I loved how Isaac explores his family relationships during this book. The way he reconnects to his older brother really pulled on my heart strings.
Then there are the fandom elements! Isaac is a comic fan and Diego is a gamer. Between the two of them there are tons of fandom references, and even though it’s a made up fandom for the book, I loved it! I loved how Charm and Reverb’s story plays out alongside Isaac’s, it was such a great way to parallel the book.
I absolutely adored The Six. I was immediately a fan of Alix and Zelda, because they’re the coolest. I also have a thing for quiet girls with cutting words (Alix). I really liked seeing Isaac branch out. He has a hard time letting people in, but by the end of this he has made other friends besides Diego. I really loved watching him grow!
Rep: Afro-Latine gay cis male MC, bisexual Iranian-American cis male side character, bisexual Puerto Rican gus male side character, BIPOC queer nonbinary side character with two dads who are drag queens, questioning white male side character, asexual white female side character, autistic Puerto Rican male side character, various Black and Latine side characters.
CWs: Mental illness (anxiety), parental abandonment. Minor: homophobia/homomisia, racism.