Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: No Apologies by Tibby Armstrong

No Apologies
~Tibby Armstrong

Format: e-book
File Size: 278 KB
Publisher: Loose ID
Publish Date: April 12, 2011
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60737-989-8

From the author's website:
Cheerful and friendly, Aaron Blake has never met a puzzle that intrigues him more than brooding Greg Falkner. He wants to get to know his roommate, but it seems the only way past his shell is through it. When a reluctant friendship turns into a budding romance, can the two keep their feelings secret from their classmates? Or will their newfound love destroy them both?

So goes the story screenwriter Greg Falkner spins for audiences and his longtime partner, Aaron Blake, in No Apologies. Loosely based on their lives together, the film rocks Hollywood with its blatant portrayal of two teenagers falling in love and coming of age in a world that struggles to accept them, while they in turn struggle to accept themselves.

At the end of the evening, will Greg’s risky venture break a relationship that’s already foundering? Or will the real life Greg and Aaron also find their happily ever after with No Apologies?

Aaron Blake has had it. He's tired of hiding from the public eye, even though he's been with his partner, Greg, for almost 10 years. He's got a promise ring that doesn't feel like much of a promise, and he's done with it. Greg begs him to at least come to his movie premier before he decides to call it quits.

Greg Falkner has always had a problem expressing how he feels, and it's impossible for him to say he's sorry or "I love you". He does love Aaron, and his movie is his love letter to Aaron. But will it be enough to salvage the relationship and make up for all those years of not apologizing?

You know, I'm finding that I really like gay coming-of-age stories, and No Apologies is no exception. When the story opens, Aaron is pretty pissed at Greg, and Greg is scrambling not to lose him. He knows this is his last chance to salvage their relationship. The story is set in 2002 but then flashes back to 1994 through the movie.

We see how they met, and how their relationship moved from indifference to friends to lovers, and the bullying they receive by their classmates as a result of their friendship. After graduation, they separate, both going home for the summer before starting college in different parts of the country.

Greg has some pretty messed-up family issues and emotional baggage, and in order to spare dragging Aaron down into it, he leaves. Aaron does some soul-searching at home and realizes that yes, he is gay. And he wants Greg. Then Aaron learns Greg has disappeared, and he risks everything to go searching for Greg.

What I liked: I like both Greg and Aaron for different reasons - Greg is so messed up by past events in his life that the only way he feels like he can be in control is to manipulate people by making them angry enough to hurt him. Aaron makes him feel like it's okay to give up control. They're beautiful together; I wouldn't say they have a D/s relationship, maybe more of a control exchange? Whatever you call it, it works for them. Their sex scenes are tender and rough and beautiful and hot.

I also thought the actions by their classmates are an accurate depiction of the "mob mentality" involved in bullying and showcase the misery the target endures.

I liked the idea of using the movie as a vehicle to showcase their past relationship in present day, although I might have been a bit confused about what was "real" and what was the movie.

What I didn't like: I thought the ending wrapped up too swiftly. Aaron was really angry and his capitulation to Greg at the end came suddenly, and Greg's change of heart about outing himself and all that went with it seemed impulsive based on his reactions to Aaron's requests at the beginning of the book. We also never really found out what set Aaron off in the beginning of the story to make him so angry; unless we're supposed to assume it was a buildup of anger over the years? It was almost like the present day Aaron and Greg swapped places with the past Aaron and Greg.

All in all, though, Aaron and Greg were great characters and I fell hard for their relationship. I couldn't put No Apologies down.

My Rating:

This book was received by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Kind of a story within a story. That can be very confusing for me sometimes. Coming of age and I are meh. :-) I'll keep it in mind but it's not calling my name right now.

  2. I like coming of age stories as well but only by a few authors. This however, holds my interest! I now must have and see if it can affect me in the same way or for different reason as well ;)

  3. Great review Patti!
    Perhaps it is soon time for me to read another MM book

  4. Hmm. Things getting wrapped up too fast and one of the characters caving too fast... not a favorite.

  5. I may have to give this one a shot. Hmm...

  6. Thank you, Patti, for your eloquent, insightful review.


  7. Tam: I'm easily confused, lol :)

    Leontine: I'd love to read your thoughts!

    Blodeuedd: Yes it is :)

    Chris: They were very sweet together though...

    Eyre: I hope you like it as much as I did!

    Tibby: Thank you - I enjoyed reading it!