Getting together is often the easy part. Staying together through all the challenges and unexpected twists of everyday life can put strain on any relationship, especially when you’re young and inexperienced. For the heroes in Taking Him On becoming a couple is only the beginning. They might have taken the important step of confessing their feelings, but they still have a great deal of growing up and soul-searching to endure if they’re going to build something that will stand the test of time.

Noah refuses to make the same mistake twice. Almost a year ago, he told the boy he loves that they needed to put their relationship on hold and concentrate on their studies. He nearly lost Matty then, and now they’re back together, Noah has no intention of letting him go. They have a whole summer to spend in one another’s company before Matty moves to London to take up his position at a renowned dance academy. How their fragile romance will fair long-distance, Noah hardly dares contemplate, but until then he is determined to take advantage of every moment.

Of course, reality is rarely that straightforward. The summer has scarcely begun when family tragedy, withheld secrets, and miscommunication combine to conspire against them. Noah and Matty’s plans of hiking and music festivals, surfing and relaxation, falter before they have even come to fruition. Verbalizing his emotions has never been Noah’s strong suit, and Matty tends to retreat inside himself when he is troubled. Unless both boys are able to open up and share their hopes and concerns, it could put their entire future in jeopardy.

This is a gentle story, in equal part sweet and sensual, about two young men navigating life’s obstacles and learning to trust. Debbie McGowan writes with such warmth and sincerity that I found it impossible not to fall in love with her style as well as her heroes. Anyone can see Noah and Matty are made for each other, so different in temperament, and yet just as strong in their own way. Featuring some likable secondary characters, and the perfect balance of conflict and tenderness, this is a truly wonderful read.

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Written for Rainbow Book Reviews