Title: A Hundred Thousand Words
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBT
Tobias Jackson grew up in Coburn, a town where the gay population equaled exactly one: him. Add that to the fact that his dream guy was his best friend’s jerky older brother Levi Baxter, and it made hooking up virtually impossible.
Now home from college for winter break, Toby is a different person. He left Coburn for San Francisco, where he wasn’t the lone gay guy and the only black kid in town. And yeah, he took advantage of what the city had to offer.
Apparently Toby isn’t the only one who’s changed. Levi’s not acting like the self-centered guy with all the answers that Toby remembers from growing up. Oh and Levi’s realized he’s bisexual, which makes things a lot more interesting…
Heading back to college, Toby doesn’t expect to meet up with Levi again, despite him being in med school not far away. A surprise visit from Levi blows that assumption out of the water. As they spend more time together Toby sees Levi as more than just the fantasy. He’s complicated, unsure…he’s real. But if Toby can’t get out of the past and find the words he keeps locked inside himself, he’ll lose his chance at Levi for good.
“What Kind of life is it if you don’t let yourself experience it? If you don’t go for what you want and live how you want? If you don’t open your mouth and say what’s important and cling to those you love? Not being who you are, or saying how you feel, or fighting for what you love, not being willing to risk your heart, is losing by default.”
A Hundred Thousand Words is super cute New Adult Romance that also deals with issues like family and college.
I did not expect to love the characters as much as I did, especially Levi. Levi is everything I look for in a character: talented, gorgeous, admired by everyone, bisexual, and, of course, one big fucking mess on the inside. I adored him. His struggles with his relationship with his father were so relatable. He grew so much by the end. I was so proud of him.
He’s actually my son. Toby was a stellar narrator. I really enjoyed his voice, and seeing him learning to overcome his fear of people leaving him.
Toby and Levi were trope-y, adorable couple. I’m fond of the ‘Best Friend’s Brother’ trope, but for whatever reason I don’t actually read that many romances with it. I liked how Nyrae Dawn did it with them. I loved seeing them build each other up, and be there at just the right time to help the other grow.While Toby and Levi’s relationship was secret for a time, I was so happy that their relationship didn’t break up Toby’s relationship with his best friend Chris. Chris and Levi didn’t make him choose one of them over the other, so I was pleased with that. I thought that the scene parallels with Toby and Levi helping the other walk home while drunk was a nice touch.
What really made A Hundred Thousand Words were the family dynamics on both Levi and Toby’s side. Levi and Chris, Toby’s best friend, had a poor relationship as brothers. Chris always felt that Levi was one upping him, and Levi had no clue what he was really doing to Chris. They both mature a lot and end up mending their relationship. Levi’s relationship with his father, who pushed his perfectionism on Levi, was another important part of the novel. Levi has to overcome his fear of disappointing his dad, and be honest with how things are going for him at college. On Toby’s side, he has his father who as been distant since his mother left. I won’t get to into because of spoilers, but I was really glad that they got to hash things out towards the end and Toby could finally resolve his avoidant relationships in the aftermath.
Also, I loved that this book was set mostly in California. As a Californian, it is so fun to see characters live in my favorite state. Plus there was discussion about not using food related descriptions like “coffee” or “caramel” to describe POC’s skin color.
If you like the ‘Best friend’s brother’ trope, I would recommend A Hundred Thousand Words.
“Did you ever realize that your life wasn’t what you thought it would be?” he softly asks.
“Or that you weren’t who you thought you’d be? What I mean is… Did you think your life would go one way, or you’d want one thing—but then you got thrown for a loop when you realize it wasn’t going to go how you thought?”
“Hey, I’ve never had any complaints about my body before not all of us can be blessed—”
“If you compare my skin color to food or a drink I’m beating your ass.”
“Just because you used to want something, doesn’t mean you always have to. You can’t live your life doing something that doesn’t make you happy.”