Things I’ll Never Say by M.J. O’Shea

Things I'll Never SayThings I’ll Never Say by M.J. O’Shea


Sam’s life sucks.

His best friend in the world is ditching him; moving out of state to go to college and leaving him behind with all the reminders of their childhood together. It hurts like hell but he doesn’t know how to tell Ryan that he needs him to stay…without saying too much.

Ryan has no choice.

He’s been in love with Sam for so many years he’s afraid if he doesn’t leave that he’ll spend his whole life alone in love with someone he can never have…but of course Ryan can’t tell his oldest and best friend that he’s in love with him. It would ruin the most important thing in his life.

And then it happens. The amazing, wonderful, awful night that sends their relationship reeling—and ends in the worst way possible: with Ryan gone and Sam heartbroken and both of them miserable without the other.

Sam and Ryan have to fix it; they need each other too much to let their relationship die. But to do that, they’ll have to find the courage to tell each other the truth about how they feel…to finally say those things they’ve kept to themselves for far too long.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[That cover makes my eyes bleed. I know it’s sweet and lovey with the heart, the rainbows and all but it’s way too busy and makes me want to cry.]


This is a very (VERY) sweet coming of age story that shows how heady first love can be and all the drama young people feel so intensely. I don’t mean this as a negative comment but reading this reminds me of how intense and all consuming first love feels. How the slightest hint of rejection is totally blown out of proportion and becomes the biggest drama in young life. I admit I read this one with a smile and a laugh, remembering the angst of youth. It’s not bad and the story shows some real skill in keeping a light hand so the drama doesn’t overwhelm the story and turn it maudlin and sappy. Above all, the tale is deeply romantic with two young men who are soul mates so fans will likely really adore this offering.

Ryan and Sam have been inseparable since they met as children. Privileged Sam and impoverished Ryan may seem like opposites but they clicked from day one and never looked back. With Sam’s parents jet setting around the world, he eagerly has Ryan stay with him more often than not. Eventually Ryan falls in love with Sam but thinking Sam could never feel the same way, he accepts a scholarship for a college out of state. Hurt and sad about losing his best friend, Sam slowly comes to realize his true feelings are much deeper than brotherly love. When a chance kiss turns more passionate, the aftermath leaves Sam and Ryan’s friendship broken. They eventually find a way back to each other but can they have to be honest if they’re going to be together they way they both desperately want.

The story starts out with Ryan close to heading off to college. Sam is sad and upset about losing the other half of him and doesn’t understand why Ryan is leaving. The two young men are very sweet and the clean writing helps the story from getting way too sappy. Instead it shows the boys as they surf, laugh, play video games, and gets inside both of their heads. Both Ryan and Sam are upset about their coming separation but with the ignorance of youth, are convinced the other would never want to be with them. Part of this narrative is not only entertaining but it really gets into the intensity and rush of first love. That overwhelming feeling where reactions and emotions swing from one extreme to the other and the smallest misunderstand is (omg) the end of the world.

Some of the characters’ reactions, especially Sam as he decides to end their friendship, are immature and childish. I didn’t mind this since I think it speaks to the inexperience of the young men and their age. Neither Sam nor Ryan ever really dated and were content with each other so they have limited experience and knowledge outside of their bubble. It didn’t surprise me that they felt such explosive emotions and making wild decisions to end the best friendship of your life over a misunderstanding. It’s relatively mild too since there’s no doubt they’ll eventually make up. They do and besides the question of when will they admit their feelings, the story doesn’t have much tension. I didn’t mind since both Sam and Ryan are pretty immature and any tension would have seen bad reactions no doubt. I’m sure college will offer maturity and experience both need to really growth and develop. So it’d be nice to revisit these two down the road to see how they’ve changed.

Overall this is a pretty sweet story about young love and soul mates that will please romantics immensely. There is some drama but the light tone keeps this from being sappy or too ridiculous. Instead readers are likely to forgive youthful antics and exaggerations and instead appreciate that intensity of true love at a young age. As a quick, engaging, and entertaining story, it’s worth reading.

Get it HERE!

2 thoughts on “Things I’ll Never Say by M.J. O’Shea

    • I think this is the perfect example of super sweet love that’s not a turn off. It’s well handled and gives you a reason for the super sweet/sappy dialogue versus trying to sell that as what romantics want.
      Well I can understand that and the cover isn’t terrible. Its just too busy and I don’t know where to look. It unfortunately stands out even more as publishers like samhain, loose id, dsp are putting out some really top notch professional covers.

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