This was heartwarming and so easy to sink into with a romance that was refreshingly different and messy but still sweet!
I’ll start this review by talking about the romance. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to talk about this because it’s obvious when you start reading, but you can skip this paragraph if you really want to avoid all possibility of spoilers. So, the romance. I’ll admit it was a bit weird in some ways. Fitz and Ari were briefly step-brothers as kids, then they weren’t, but they remained in each others’ lives, and, at some point, Ari’s feelings turned into romantic ones. The only reason I say it’s weird is because, for so much of the book, Ari kept treating Fitz in such a big brother-y, mentor-y, protective sort of way, rather than treating him the way you’d treat an equal partner. Buuuut I love that the author explored this scenario because, in real life, there are all different ways that relationships can form. And I did think they were cute together in the end.
I also loved how messy and un-formulaic the romance was. In real life, it’s not always as simple as “meet stranger -> flirt or become friends -> fall in love.” And it wasn’t that simple in this book either. But it also wasn’t messy for no reason. Everything that happened in this book was important and a huge part of Fitz’s growth and brought the characters together in the end.
Even Adelade and Ben’s relationship (parents) and their possible path to romance was different in a way. If you can’t tell, I really like atypical relationships in books.
There were also ghosts! Julian and Serge were completely adorable together. I liked that they were developed and had a touching backstory of their own rather than just being shoved to the background as side characters. They were fun characters, especially Julian and all his impulsiveness, sass, and general disregard of the law. It was also really sweet how they cared about Fitz and basically made themselves his ghost dads.
I do have a couple complaints though. This was a small thing, but I didn’t like Ari’s remarks about how he didn’t understand how someone could be attracted to someone who’s mentally ill. He was talking about characters in a movie, and I think it was only brought up because it explained why Fitz didn’t tell Ari about the ghosts (he was worried Ari would think he was having delusions or hallucinations), but I’m warning because that line could be really hurtful to some people.
Another thing, it was explained how Julian and Serge became ghosts, but nothing else about them was ever explained. Not what they could and couldn’t do, why certain people could see them but not others, etc., so that sometimes seemed a bit random.
I listened to the audiobook, and the narration by Douglas Berger was great. It sounded natural. The voices were different enough to tell characters apart and suited the characters. His voice was nice to listen to.
Overall, I really enjoyed this! Once I started, I didn’t want to stop. The characters were lovable, the romance was unique, messy, and sweet, and really, who can resist ghost dads? ;-)
Anyone who likes messy, non-formulaic m/m romance, new adult, heartwarming stories, and adorable ghost dads.
Fitz Gaffney finally has some breathing room. His mother’s out of town, his piano coaches have backed off, and he’s spending his time in a music conservatory where he only has to be adequate for an entire year before all his responsibilities comes crashing back in again. Along with his new free time comes the realization that he’s lonely, but his first attempt to make new friends goes horribly awry.
Fitz’s new — but possibly imaginary — friends, Evan and Serge want to help him find happiness. His used-to-be-step-brother Ari Scheffield wants to help him gain confidence and a little much-needed cool. His housekeeper Marguerite wants to keep fowl in the back yard for butchering because Duck confit is expensive and she has pillows to re-stuff. And his possible new boyfriend Garrett wants to prove he didn’t mean for their first date to end with Fitz lying unconscious in a Dumpster.
All Fitz wants is someone to care about him, but suddenly there seems to be a glut. How’s a shy guy to know what’s real when he’s confronted by crazy ghosts, a less than truthful boyfriend, and relatives with hidden motives in Rhapsody For Piano and Ghost.