Life After Joe - Harper Fox Harper Fox is a hit or miss author for me. Sometimes I really enjoy her books and others I just can't seem to finish. Nevertheless, I really liked this one. It's a bit angsty and deals with Matt who's neck-deep in drugs, alcohol and sex.

It was hard for me to like Matt. He's a very fragile character that needs firm and constant support to stay sober and sane. You would think being burned the way Matt did that he'd be insecure and distrustful to others but surprisingly he's not. In fact, he allows stuff to happen that kind of puts him in the same situation he was in with Joe, which I wasn't all that fond of. Aaron is probably the only person that can keep Matt sober. He's kind, gentle, attentive, everything Matt needs except, Aaron has his own problems. I really loved Aaron even when I found Matt's actions disgusting.

The story deals mostly with Matt's struggle to get back into the land of the living and stop being self-destructive. The journey he takes through his grieving and finally accepting to move on was sad and I felt his pain even when I didn't like what he was doing. I loved the relationship Aaron and Matt created and the fact Aaron got Matt on the straight and narrow and the eventual realization of just how deep they've both come to love each other and what they'll do for that love.

While I really liked the story, there were some problems I had with it. I found Matt's recollections of his time with Joe really repetitive so I was getting frustrated with his constant mentions of what he and Joe used to do. The story also does a lot of telling and not showing which grew aggravating because all I wanted was to see these scenes play out instead of hearing (even when Matt was giving a byplay of the dialogues he was having with others) of how they took place. I also wished there had been more scenes of Matt and Aaron as a couple, like the three month gap after Christmas that we didn't get to see but were told some parts of. Aside from that, the story ended rather abruptly, IMO. I liked that there were a lot of scenes with Aaron and Matt still in that awkward stage before a relationship but I wanted to see them after they confirmed their feelings for each other. I feel like there was something vital missing from the story because we don't see them doing anything outside what they do in their apartment. We don't really know much about Aaron until the end and even then it wasn't nearly enough character depth for him, IMO.

Overall, I really liked the story. It deals with some concepts that you don't see much of (the constant drugs/drinking use) that are handled properly (the actions, the risks, the realization you might die from your stupid behavior and then going on the wagon) but I liked (more or less) the way the author handled Matt's struggle. A very good story but I really wished it hadn't ended where it ended because now I want to know more!