Book Review: Not Quite Out by Louise Willingham

Book Review, Uncategorized

I’ve been trying to get back into my reading routine after a couple of years of burnout. Not for lack of effort, it wasn’t working for me. I would pick a book off my shelf and read three or four pages, and then it would sit there for weeks. Something had to change. Despite resolving not to get any new books this year, I decided the only way to combat my stump was to buy a new book I was really excited about. Now, was that the best decision? No, probably not, because now I want to buy more. But did it work? Yes, I’m happy to say it did.

I follow a writer on Twitter who kept mentioning her book, and every time I heard her say something about it, I wanted to know more. Then I saw the cover. A love affair began between me and that cover. The color scheme, the simplicity! My brain was sold. I used my first payment from freelancing to pay for this book, and I’m glad I didn’t spend it any other way.

The book was ‘Not Quite Out’ by Louise Willingham. The story follows William and Daniel, two men with vastly different experiences of life, who you can’t help but root for. William is bi, but he hasn’t told anyone yet. He’s decided it doesn’t matter anyway because he doesn’t plan on dating anyone right now. Daniel is gay and out but is battling addiction and a breakup with an abusive ex. They meet by chance, but their worlds change from that moment on as they grow closer and closer together.

Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)

My god! The amount of romantic tension in this book is perfectly unbearable. The noises I made while reading it were not voluntary. This book features all of the romantic intimacies that aren’t sex, and it made me swoon. It’s so refreshing to see physical touch that doesn’t always lead up to an orgasm. There’s nothing wrong with sex, but all other forms of intimacy are often glossed, not just in books but in society in general. I think everyone will be able to enjoy this and not just people who are on the ace spectrum like me (Dan and Will are not aspect.) They experience such a genuine love for each other; it will sound ridiculous, but my heart was seriously sighing with joy.

Let’s not even mention the number of times I made my fiancé toss in bed by accidentally screaming, “JUST TELL THEM. TELL THEM, NOW. DO IT!” It was a page-turner because I just needed to find out when, how, and if Will was ever going to tell someone that he’s bisexual. It propelled me forward even long after I should have gone to bed.

I thought there were a few odd things thrown in at the end, but they didn’t exactly take away from anything I loved about this story. It’s not because they were things that I didn’t like, but things that just appeared to be thrown in quickly with not enough time spent focusing on them. Their relationship is toxic, but I think the side characters address this and make it apparent throughout the story. The story features a lot of significant, scary issues that I wish could have been delved into a little deeper and would have brought this up to a 5-star read for me.

All said and done, this story was precisely the book I needed to read right now. And even though I had hoped to finish it in June, because you know Pride month, I’m just happy it was good enough to get me to finish it at all (not to mention we should have Pride every month.) I recommend it to everyone looking for a lovely little romance.

⚠Trigger Warnings: drug abuse/recovery, abuse, self harm, abortion.⚠

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