Nobody’s Hero (Letting Go)
Nobody’s Hero is my first book by j. leigh bailey, but it won’t be my last. The characters and dialogue were engaging. The leads, Brad and Danny, are sweet together. They’re each struggling with growing up, and they’re doing it from very different perspectives and life views.
Brad’s effort to overcome his history with his family is his biggest motivator for every step he takes in life. They’ve done immeasurable harm to him, and his story trickles out slowly in a way that each detail felt like a new wound being scored into my heart for him.
In stark contrast, Danny has an incredibly close relationship with his whole family. He lives with them and is supported by them emotionally and financially. His closest friends are members of the family, and his coming out was far less traumatic than any one moment in Brad’s familial life.
At first, the book felt long. At around the 30% mark, I wondered how there could still be so much left. I expected things were going to wrap up quickly. Then, all of a sudden, I was at 70%, and I was still engaged. I’m not sure what that says about pacing, but I didn’t get bored.
The character development is my favorite part of the book. It was lovely to watch Brad transcend the horrors of his past—and present—inflicted upon him by his family and reach a place where he could be with Danny openly. Danny shows incredible patience and a lovable naiveté throughout the story. He reads much younger than Brad, despite being a year older.
I do have a few complaints. Some parts of the secondary storyline felt incredibly obvious from the outset. I suppose from the character perspectives (Brad’s and Danny’s), this plot line shows how their personalities and youth keep them both from seeing the obvious until real damage occurs. There is foreshadowing for some of it, but the scene where things came to a head hit me unexpectedly with panic and pain. I was as unsure what was happening in the moment as the characters grabbed my attention. Overall, I realized, the writing was well done and I felt my attention ended up being grabbed in a good way. Unfortunately, the foreshadowing and “bad guy” were just too clear from the outset. As far a mystery/danger storyline, a large part of this secondary plot was underwhelming.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA or NA m/m. It’s not going into my reread pile, but it’s sweet and worth the first read. I’ll be reading more by j. leigh bailey.