I read Home Again because I wanted to read the sequel – He Completes Me – and assumed I had to read the first book in the series. Unfortunately the couple in the sequel is only in one scene of Home Again so I could have saved myself the agony of reading this one. Except to be fair it isn’t agonizing. The story is easy to read just not very good. I hear the sequel is funny and the characters are adorable so I’m still game to read that one but sadly this book went off the rails at the beginning and never quite recovered. I don’t recommend it at all and suggest readers look for some of the better amnesia plot books out there (such as Amor En Retrograde).
The plot of Home Again starts with Noah in present time waking up from a coma. He’s been there due to an accident, though the details of which are never explained, and he’s anxious to see his long time lover Clark again. Although Noah’s only been in the hospital for a few weeks, the last thing he can remember is three years ago. There’s obviously an elephant in the room relating to something that happened between Noah and Clark but Noah doesn’t remember what that is until much later with Clark’s help. Noah only knows that he loves and needs his partner. Interspersed between the Noah’s present day recitation of events are flashbacks from Clark’s perspective as he reveals how the two met and fell in love.
The basic premise of the story isn’t bad – two lovers dealing with an accident get a second chance at their relationship. Unfortunately, the writing, pacing, and characterization just kills this story entirely. To start with the writing is problematic. The tense is past but tends to slip into present repeatedly. The prose and language are simplistic with basic words and lack a real literary eloquence. The descriptive portions are stale with overused phrases and analogies. There are also a lot of sex scenes in the book, in fact the second half is almost entirely sex scenes with large passages of exposition. The graphic sexual writing had me cringing and I skimmed these scenes since I didn’t find them sexy, titillating, or enjoyable. Additionally, the large information dumps keep a telling rather than showing tone with information repeated constantly throughout the story.
The biggest problem I had though is with the characters themselves. Noah and Clark meet when Noah is only thirteen to Clark’s seventeen yet both Noah and Clark display a maturity and emotional stability of men decades older. Even Noah’s wild child, acting out antics are more cries for help and Clark’s attention than real teenage angst. Noah’s dialogue and thoughts and Clark’s perspective just don’t add up to two young men. This definitely plays into the inconsistent presentation of both men. Noah goes from being a mature, intelligent man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to defend it to being stupid, immature, and destructive. Neither of these feel like variations of a complex person but more so wildly different people smashed together in the same name.
Similarly Clark bounces back and forth from an understanding and intelligent young man to overly nurturing and almost suffocating. The story is trying to portray how deeply in love the two men are. That they are soul mates and knew that from a very young age. Yet their constant use of nicknames, angel and sweetheart, becomes too precious and overused. Likewise Noah has some totally random and outrageous jealousy problem, which makes no sense given how the two are always eating each other’s faces. So how and why could Noah ever be jealous? The story goes to great lengths to show how in love they are so I never understood where Noah’s jealousy or the vague BDSM references came from.
The actual event that Noah initially refuses to remember is ridiculous, flat out. It’s so stupid and the rationale may baffle even the most willing reader to understand. Not to mention the equally ridiculous reactions and justifications of both men. It’s out of character for all the participants, makes absolutely no sense, and is simply an obvious manipulation to inject tension into the story. Tension, which outside of that event, doesn’t really exist. There’s an attempt to throw Noah’s brother, Ben, into the mix but again this is unnecessary and an obvious misstep since it simply doesn’t belong nor does it really work with the characters and the story.
Having said all of that, which adds up to a pretty bad reading experience, the actual book flies by. It’s easy to read, even if not always enjoyable and entertaining. Reader tastes may vary so if the issues I had are not the same as another reader they could perhaps like this. Unfortunately the story simply needs more work in my opinion so I wouldn’t recommend it. I will however go to the second book –the whole point of reading this one – and hope for the best.