For What It's Worth

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

book spotlight & review: abroad by liz jacobs

abroad spotlight

I’m happy to be joining up with the Abroad Promo Tour this week.

Quote from the author about the book:

ABROAD is a story of struggle, love, identity, fear, family, and friendship. It's about finding your people. It's a story of how our cultures can define, constrict, and, ultimately, free us. It's a story of immigration and its fallout, of confusion and clashes and how help can come from the most unexpected places. It's the story I have always wanted to tell, ever since I was a confused, frightened immigrant kid with no recourse but to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings or sink. In many ways, while fictionalized and quite altered, this is my story.

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unnamedAbroad by Liz Jacobs
Brain Mill Press
Publish date: June 27, 2017
Subgenre: NA; LGBTQIA

Nick Melnikov doesn’t know where he belongs. He was just a kid when his Russian-Jewish family immigrated to Michigan. Now he’s in London for university, overwhelmed by unexpected memories. Socially anxious, intensely private, and closeted, Nick doesn’t expect to fall in so quickly with a tight-knit group of students from his college, and it’s both exhilarating and scary. Hanging out with them is a roller coaster of serious awkward and incredible longing, especially when the most intimidating of the group, Dex, looks his way.

Dex Cartwell knows exactly who he is: a black queer guy who doesn’t give a toss what anybody thinks of him. He is absolutely, one-hundred-percent, totally in control of his life. Apart, maybe, from the stress of his family’s abrupt move to an affluent, largely white town. And worrying about his younger brother feeling increasingly isolated as a result. And the persistent broken heart he’s been nursing for a while . . .


When Nick and Dex meet, both find themselves intrigued. Countless late-night conversations only sharpen their attraction. But the last thing Nick wants is to face his deepest secret, and the last thing Dex needs is another heartache. Dex has had to fight too hard for his right to be where he is. Nick isn’t even sure where he’s from. So how can either of them tell where this is going?


Goodreads | Brain Mill Press | Amazon

Source: ARC prided by A Novel Take PR in exchange for an honest review

Review:
Abroad is a fresh take on the NA genre with a slower pace that feels both realistic and allows the characters to explore identity, culture, sexuality and self discovery in a way that allows all of life’s complexities to shine through. It’s one of the few books I’ve read this that yeah – I got my steamy sex scenes quota filled lol – but I also got to walk in other people’s shoes for a bit and learn something.

At it’s core, Abroad is about the blossoming romance between Nick, a Russian-Jew who immigrated to the US, now a foreign exchange student in the UK, and Dex, a black queer man both attending university in London. It's about the (very) tentative start to their romance, but is also about the changing dynamics between their diverse group of friends and family.

Even though many of the characters have some of the same experiences – being gay or bi sexual for example – the way they deal with it (or don’t) was touched on in a way that I don’t often read. Each character brings something different to their personal experience and therefor, a different way of dealing with and reacting to things, allowing for a more nuanced and inclusive portrayal of their issues. Fear and resentments build and explode and relationships are slowly stitched back together. It was all really well done and a New Adult novel that actually deals with new adult issues.

Despite the summary only mentioning the Dex/Nick romance – there is also the third pov of Dex’s best friend, Izzy. At first I found this kind of jarring because it was so unexpected and I do think it took away from their romance but it also added another layer to the story and the overarching theme of friendships and self discovery.

This is a duology, and while it ends on a HFN note, there is a lot up in the air regarding several relationships. There is no definitive date set for the sequel but I’ve heard that it might be November of this year. So not too long of a wait. I consider this the *how we met book* and the next one will probably be the *all the hard work to the eventual HEA* book. It's not a cliffhanger so don't worry about that but it's not tied in a neat little bow quite yet either.

If you are looking for a New Adult that moves at a slightly slower pace that allows the story to really get into the complicated factors of race, ethnicity, LGBQTIA issues and just the idea of feeling like an outsider and deciding what to do with the rest of your life – this is a great book to read.



Author Bio:


Liz Jacobs came over with her family from Russia at the age of 11, as a Jewish refugee.  All in all, her life has gotten steadily better since that moment. They settled in an ultra-liberal haven in the middle of New York State, which sort of helped her with the whole “grappling with her sexuality” business.

She has spent a lot of her time flitting from passion project to passion project, but writing remains her constant. She has flown planes, drawn, made jewelry, had an improbable internet encounter before it was cool, and successfully wooed the love of her life in a military-style campaign. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her essay on her family’s experience with immigration.

She currently lives with her wife in Massachusetts, splitting her time between her day job, writing, and watching a veritable boatload of British murder mysteries.


Connect with Liz: Website | Twitter | Facebook

25 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great read. I love new adult books but they tend to all be the same story over and over. This one sounds like it would be completely different with the slower pace. It's nice to be able to fully connect with the characters that you're reading about.

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    1. They're (NA) also usually super (unnecessarily) angsty. There are big issues in this one but I love how they deal with them. They screw up but are really nice people who are willing to learn from their mistakes or with the help of others.

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  2. This is probably not my kind of book since I mostly read PNR at the moment but thanks for the great review.

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  3. This one is definitely on my to-read list now. I love the IDEA of NA books, but I feel like most of them are just adult books to be honest. I like that this focuses on young twenties type of issues.

    Lauren

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    1. Agree Lauren! I think you would like this one.

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  4. Oh, I do like what you are saying about this one, Karen. I've shied away from NA for a while b/c it really wasn't doing it for me, but a slower developing one that has all facets of life involved does get my interest.

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    1. I don't read much anymore either unless it comes highly recommended - which this one did.

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  5. Doesn't sound like this one would be a good fit for me, but glad you enjoyed!

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  6. I usually avoid NA unless it is an author I enjoy but this one really sounds like it is up my alley. I love outsider books that aren't overly angsty but actually deal with the problems. I'll have to see if my library can get this one!

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    1. There is drama but it felt like real life drama - adapting to a new culture, accepting yourself, changing relationships. Not manufactured drama.

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  7. Sounds like a robust story. I don't usually read too much NA, but glad you enjoyed it. :) ~Aleen

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    1. Yeah, it's usually too angsty for me lol

      There is drama and everything here but it worked for me. It felt real.

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  8. I don't really read many LGBT books but this one sounds pretty good! :)
    Haniya
    booknauthors.blogspot.com

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    1. This was one of the best LGBQT books I've read recently. I actually picked it up because several readers from that community highly recommended it.

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  9. This does sound promising. I've read a few NA with mixed results.

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  10. I have been steering away from NA for so long, I am afraid to try it again. This however definitely sounds different from the typical worn out NA tropes. I do like the diversity of the characters and that this is a LGBQT book. Sounds interesting.

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  11. I am happy that you enjoyed it. It does sound interesting, but I don't it would be for me.

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  12. So has NA evolved from its erotic slant? The popularity of the genre has mellowed down. That said, the gnere is also a trailblazer I hope they use the platform more to push social issues like this

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  13. This is the first review I have seen for this book, and I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. I am hoping to fit this one in at some point.

    Great review.

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  14. Awesome review, as always, my friend. Glad that you enjoyed it. :)

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  15. This sounds really intriguing! It's been ages since I've read a good NA, and even longer since I read a queer NA book so I'm thinking I may have to take the plunge with this one. I love the sound of Nick and Dex's relationship.

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