Review: Abroad: Book Two by Liz Jacobs


Title: Abroad: Book Two
Author: Liz Jacobs
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, Queer, Coming of age
Release Date: 2 Jan 2018

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Author's links: Website Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 stars


Nick Melnikov has finally done it — he’s come out.

To himself. To his sister. And to Dex, who listens, hears him, and understands. To Dex, who kisses him and shows him all that they could be, if Nick could only find the courage. It’s one thing to let yourself be open thousands of miles away from your family, but exchange student Nick is uncomfortably aware that his time with Dex is running out. Who will he be when he goes home again?

Dex Cartwell is as happy with Nick as he’s ever been, but he can’t ignore the shadow of Nick’s inevitable departure from London, back to his life in Michigan. Is it worth it for Dex to expose his heart to another doomed relationship with a predetermined expiration date? What does Dex really want for the beginning of the next chapter in his life, post-graduation?

Dex wants to turn to his best friend in the struggle to find a way forward, but Izzy Jones has her own problems. She’s got one friend in love with her, and when she turns to another for help things get twice as complicated. Izzy never wanted complicated, but life just keeps getting in the way — and sweeping her off her feet.

Then Nick’s mom and sister come for a visit, and he is forced to decide between living his truth and protecting himself from fear and change. It’s going to take a lot of courage and a few leaps in the dark if Nick, Dex, and Izzy are to find a way to live and love on their own terms.


Abroad: Book One was a stunning debut and one of my favourite reads of 2017. It's sequel completes the story of Nick and Dex and Izzy and the rest of the gang and it's an equally emotional and powerfully told tale of identity and (pro)claiming your true self.

I admit I was hesitant about the choice of two main romantic arcs, (Nick and Dex', and Izzy's) and it didn't quite work for me in the first 30% of the story. I loved reading about Nick and Dex and how they come together as a couple and I also loved following Izzy's journey through figuring out her own sexuality but I felt those two plotlines didn't really mix and were happening independently of one another.

Everything clicked into place for me when we saw all the characters interacting again. The author gave us a slice of life that is diverse and multi-layered and we got to see how difficult it is for young people to navigate through it. I really appreciated seeing life issues as they are, intersectional by nature. The relationships between the characters bring into focus all the different aspects of one's self and how they affect one and another and make us how we are. We see issues of race, religion, being queer, being an immigrant, being a young person on the verge of graduation and having to choose/figure out a direction in life all mixed together. They were all deftly explored by the author and presented with understanding and compassion.

This story stands out with the depth of human relationships presented - between lovers, among friends, within the family, with the world at large. There is no sugarcoating of the characters' struggles. Nick's anxiety felt palpable, as was Dex' anger and fear and hurt. I really liked how characters, even minor ones stood on their own and felt like real people not cardboard stereotypes (Dex' little brother and his parents, Nick's mother and sister).

This is a very emotional duology and there were aspects of that I could relate to on a personal level. It's brilliantly written, rich and heartfelt. Abroad is one of the best queer NA series I have read and I highly recommend it. 

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