Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Title: All the Wrong Places
Author: Ann Gallagher
Release Date: 13 June 2016
Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.
Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.
Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.
What I Liked:
This is the first book that I’ve read in the Bluewater Bay series, but it works as a standalone. The series is interesting, because all of the books take place in the same Washington town, but each book is written by a different author.
This is the first book that I’ve ever read that featured asexual characters in an asexual relationship. At times, it can come across as a bit information heavy, but it’s really important that books like this exist. There are a large number of MF, FF, and MM romance out there now, but most of them do have a certain focus on sex. I like that this book is about how some people just aren’t all that into sex, and that’s okay. Romantic relationships can exists even when sex is not a priority.
I also loved that one of the romantic leads is Middle Eastern and a Muslim. Even now, it is still so difficult to find romances featuring people who aren’t white, Christian Americans. Even in m/m romance, white characters are still the norm, so I love when I come across a book that features characters of different ethnicity, religion, and backgrounds. I love it even more when it’s handled well, and this book definitely handles Zafir and his situation very well.
What I Didn’t:
The conflict was a little bit weak. I completely get that discovering and exploring your sexual and romantic orientations can be confusing, but I felt that the conflict/confusion towards the end was a little forced. I also wish that we got to see more of Brennan and Zafir coming back together after the conflict instead of cutting to ‘one year later.’
I really enjoyed this book. It was such a sweet romance, and it was really different from any other m/m romance novel that I’ve ever read. It was awesome to see an author not only include asexual characters, but make them the focus of a romance. Diversity is important, even in romance novels, so I love seeing that authors are taking more risks by creating characters of different orientation, ethnicity, and religion. I hope to see many more books like this one in the future.
My Rating: 4/5