Monday, March 14, 2016
Review: Out of Frame (In Focus #3) by Megan Erickson
Romance trades the open road for the high seas in the latest from the author of Focus on Me and Trust the Focus...
Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.
And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.
At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he's bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams... ~ Goodreads
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley
Every time a book from this series is available I get excited. The In Focus series is my reader happy place. Each book introduces these wonderful, complicated guys and a great supporting cast that I just love spending time with.
Out of Frame takes place during spring break on a cruise ship which lends itself perfectly to the NA genre, and as a jumping off point for Quinn, a guy who has always done the safe thing but is looking to break out a little before deciding what to do with the rest of his life.
Also on the cruise is the cast of Trip League, a reality show, following the lives of a group of 20-somethings. J.R. Butler is cast as the angry black man of the group, but Quinn is attracted to him and sees that there’s more to the man than the tv persona.
There are hi-jinks on the high seas – as you would expect from a spring break cruise with horny kids without supervision – but this was a really touching story and romance. Exactly what I’ve come to expect from Erickson.
As Quinn gets to know him he realizes that J.R. is not straight, as portrayed on the show, but bi-sexual. Erickson does such a wonderful job with this aspect and showing J.R.’s anger and internal claustrophobia about how his life has become a script for the cameras. He wants to break out and be himself. It really isn’t about who he’s dating – it’s about being able to be true to himself and whoever his future partner is - male or female.
As the cruise progresses, Quinn learns to take chances and break out from under his well meaning but over bearing parents and start to make his own decisions. This could have come off as a cliche and been Quinn getting all wild but it’s not. Quinn represents that time of life and the struggle between wanting to break out on your own - but fearing the mistakes you might make and wanting that cushion of having your parents as a safety net.
Each man has a journey to take and while they are the catalyst for each other, they have to make the decisions for themselves and I have to say – this was the first book by this author that scared me a bit. Could they get a true HEA in the time remaining? Would it be believable? Yes. And yes. In fact, I found it even more believable because Erickson didn’t make it easy or solve everything with love.
With Out of Frame, Erickson had taken several themes and written them with a delicate, respectful touch, while still keeping with her trademark humor.
I highly recommend this entire series. I think they can be read as stand alones but characters from previous novels do make appearances and you would be missing out on something special.