All the Better Part of Me by Molly Ringle is a LGBTQ+ read, a friends-to-lovers romance, and a quick light read. This is the first book in my #20booksofsummer and the first of two June #tbrknockoutchallenge reads.
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s an inconvenient time for Sinter Blackwell to realize he’s bisexual. He’s a 25-year-old American actor working in London, living far away from his disapproving parents in the Pacific Northwest, and enjoying a flirtation with his director Fiona. But he can’t deny that his favorite parts of each day are the messages from his gay best friend Andy in Seattle—whom Sinter once kissed when they were 15. Finally he decides to return to America to visit Andy and discover what’s between them, if anything. He isn’t seeking love, and definitely doesn’t want drama. But both love and drama seem determined to find him. Family complications soon force him into the most consequential decisions of his life, threatening all his most important relationships: with Andy, Fiona, his parents, and everyone else who’s counting on him. Choosing the right role to play has never been harder.
Sinter Blackwell seems to be on the cusp of great things: He’s living in London, away from the critical eyes of his conservative parents, he’s just landed the leading role in a movie that celebrates the 1980s music scene (in a good way), and he’s got a lot of prospects. However, things get complicated for him when he realizes that he’s in love with his BFF from high school, but isn’t really ready to come out. He worries about what the decision to leave London and move back to Seattle will do to his career, and what his decisions about his love life will do to his already rocky relationship with his parents.
I overall enjoyed this read. It’s a quick, “light” read, perfect to kick off the summer season. I enjoyed experiencing the relationship between Sinter and Andy unfold. I actually thought the book was going to be a little trite; it dragged a bit for me at the halfway mark, where there’s a lot of on-again/off-again questions in Sinter and Andy’s romance, but I appreciate that the author made things complicated, just like they are in real life where love is never easy and fairy-tale-esque. Sinter is forced to take a hard look at what things really make him happy and what things have true meaning in his life. The character of Sebastian, who is a real musician hired to play one in the movie’s band, is a great reality check and I loved that he was able to be sympathetic at the same time giving Sinter the kick in the pants he needed sometimes to keep moving forward on his journey.
I appreciated too that the author brought up themes around the difficulties of navigating being a member of the LGBTQ population, not only with the general public (like how difficult it is to just hold hands with the person you love out while walking around town without garnering stares or nasty comments or worse), but also with your family and friends, and ultimately yourself. It takes a lot of courage to not only accept who you are, but to be able to find happiness while being true to yourself. I’m glad Sinter found both of those things for himself.
Rating of 3-1/2 out of 5 stars. I liked the characters and the overall story arc, it was just a little too light a read for my current mood and had some slow sections that bogged me down a bit.