Abroad: Book Two (The Hellum and Neal Series in LGBTQIA+ Literature)Abroad: Book Two by Liz Jacobs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Abroad series is one of the most unique stories I’ve read in that both books feature characters spanning a wide range of genders, races, nationalities, and sexualities, and each is presented in such a respectful manner. Book Two continues the story of Nick, Dex, and Izzy and their tight group of friends. It’s a story of growth and discovery and coming to terms with change.

It’s delightful to see Nick evolve into acceptance of his sexuality. He’s like a kid in a candy shop, exploring all the new pleasures with Dex. His shy hesitance and astonishment of how right it feels to be with Dex in comparison to his ex-girlfriend is endearing. And it’s almost as if Dex is discovering a whole new side of himself and being in a relationship as well. Nick’s panic attacks are written in such a way that they feel real. Many times I found myself trying to catch my breath and feeling tightness in my chest.

The gang goes through ups and downs typical to college age students, but there are also deeper conflicts stemming from the struggles of being a minority. Each issue is dealt with in the most sensitive manner and you can’t help but ache for each character and the turmoil they experience.

Book Two is concluded perfectly. Everyone gets a happy ending and the reader is left with a smile on their face. (Well, at least I was smiling.) This is not a cookie cutter book in that two people meet, fall in love, have a conflict, and come together in a fantastical way. This is more like a day in the life narrative as the author takes the reader on a journey through the every day life of the characters and it absolutely works for me.

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