Review: Overexposed by Megan Erickson00:00
Author: Megan Erickson
Date of publication: 20 Sept 2016
Genre / Themes: Romance / New Adult / MM
Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
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My rating: 4 Stars
Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he'd planned to do with his sister.
His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs...
I've read and reviewed the previous three books in this series of NA road trip mm romances and my favourite so far is Focus on Me which tells Colin and Riley. This one, the story of the reality TV star Levi and mysterious and quiet Thad he meets while hiking the Appalachian Trail comes in a close second place, and I'd even say rather it is a tie with Focus on Me.
It's a very emotionally intense story, my favourite type of romance - lots of heat with lots of deep feelings.
Levi was grieving and Thad was at a crossroads in his life, both at vulnerable positions, they had to work through a lot of feelings, fears, dreams, hopes. Their unlikely pairing on the Appalachian Trail really helped them move on, accept some things (about themselves and the others), make decisions about the future.
I'm very happy to see that Levi is not the spoiled celebrity he seemed to be when we first met him in the previous book. There is so much about him that is hidden behind the surface and the reader gets to see it he gradually opens up to Thad.
They are complete opposites on the surface, Levi is outgoing and talkative and friendly and very much obviously gay who can't pass for straight. Thad is everything Levi isn't - he is quiet and broody and doesn't like people and could easily be mistake for straight. They become unlikely companions on a physically and mentally demanding trip which they both have undertaken for painful personal reasons.
I liked how the chemistry between them was there from the start, ready to burst out yet not quite until it finally does. They don't fall into a relationship right away, but rather form an unexpected friendship which becomes a source of comfort and support they both desperately needed. Levy and Thad grow and change in the course of the story, each helping the other see his true potential.
I have only one minor quibble with this story and it has to do with some of the presentation and discussions of the characters' sexuality. It felt forced, too focused on sending a message for acceptance and social justice. I had the same feeling regarding J. R.'s bisexuality in Out of Frame.
This story has the perfect ending and it made me so happy. I loved the sense of community, support and most importantly, hope for the future it gave to all the characters in this series.