When the Planets Align

Author: Kate McMurray

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: DSP and Amazon

Type: Novel

Received from Publisher


Blurb:  Best friends Michael Reeves and Simon Newell always lived within ten minutes of each other, but somehow they’re never in the same place at the same time.

Brash, outgoing Michael’s unwavering confidence that he and Simon are meant to be carries him through some hard times. When Simon moves to New York, Michael dutifully follows. Quiet, practical Simon loves Michael as a dear friend, but he’s not ready for anything romantic.

Several years and several failed relationships later, Simon realizes he’s been in love with Michael all along. Only now Michael has moved on. Though Simon offers everything Michael’s ever dreamed of, the timing is all wrong. Confusion, betrayal, and secrets from the past threaten their friendship until it might be time for them to go their separate ways. Or maybe the planets will finally align, and Michael and Simon will find themselves in the right place at the right time to take the next step.


Review: This book takes you on the journey of Michael and Simon and their long and painful path to getting the timing right. I really enjoyed this book. It was frustrating and heartbreaking. It kept me up way too late reading because I needed some kind of resolution to their struggle. It was totally worth the lack of sleep.

The book jumps around in time from when the guys were in high school to the present day. I know some people really don’t like this but I think the author did an excellent job of holding my interest while yanking me out of whatever reality she’d so thoroughly placed me. I was consumed by this story so entirely. I seriously think my eyes filled with tears 4-5 times in this book. I could feel the pain and disappoint these guys caused each other. It also explained a lot of the history the guys lived through while helping you get attached to the characters.

Michael and Simon have been best friends since they were four years old so they’re extremely close. Things change when they get older. Michael knows he loves Simon from the time he’s sixteen. He’s out and proud. Simon doesn’t admit he’s gay until later. Simon is the quiet and smart kid who thinks if he gets good grades and flies under the radar he can finally experience life to the fullest when he gets to college in New York. He wants to do it all. Michael does too but he’s under the impression since they’ve been fooling around that they’ll be “together” while they experience freedom for the first times in their lives. Simon sees things differently. He knows Michael is his best friend but he wants to experience everything New York has to offer. Including it’s men.

This book hurt so good. I flip flopped on who I thought hurt whom the worst. Simon hurt and rejected Michael for so long when Simon finally realizes Michael is his one, Michael is so fearful of more heartbreak, he just can’t give his heart up again. He sabotages and escapes. A lot of times in a book this feels contrived. Here is totally made sense because you feel right along with Michael. I loved Michael’s character. He seemed so warm and real to me. Flawed and passionate. Funny and good. Simon is more subdued. He’s neat and focused on his career. Doesn’t show his feelings outwardly. He doesn’t dream big like Michael. He works hard and makes his way. It’s hard to say you love them together because they’re sometimes outright cruel to each other but they undeniably have chemistry. You also REALLY want them together. They have to be together!

Michael also crushed Simon. This part of the book could be questionable to some people but I think it all made sense. Not expected but it worked. Poor Michael just believed he could have it all for so long but it was just too hard to hold on through the heartache and disappointment. He went with what made him feel good and what was easy. Which of course lead to more tear filled moments!

The only reason this book didn’t get 5 stars from me personally is because of the ending. I saw it coming and it seemed a pretty convenient way to tie up the story. It also poured cold water on that smoldering intense flame the entire book felt like to me. It was good but not great like the rest of the story. I still highly recommend this book. It’s full of these things I don’t always love but man I did in this book. It’s consuming, heartbreaking and so beautiful. If you’re in the mood for a book to get lost in, I say give this one a try.


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