Author: Alina Popescu
Series: Famous on the Internet, Book One
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, M/M Romance
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Start your journey through the new techie/geeky gay romance series by Alina Popescu—Famous on the Internet—with the first book, Br0th3rly.
Fighting his relentless love for Trevor, the guy he was raised to consider his brother, has been Tristan’s mission in life.
To distance himself from Trevor, even after discovering they weren’t really related, he left for college at sixteen. Moving into the city, building a new life, and running an anonymous blog about what he considers sick, twisted feelings might make Tristan famous on the Internet, but it isn’t enough to get over his obsession. Every time he goes home, a quick glance at Trevor brings it all flooding back.
When commitment-phobe Trevor announces he’s got a serious boyfriend during one of Tristan’s rare visits home, the adoring kid brother will be forced to run once again. This time, however, Trevor doesn’t stand back and watch him leave.
Instead, he follows him, making it nigh on impossible for Tristan to keep his love a secret for much longer.
Growing up, I never really had a role model. Well, I had plenty, but none of them of my own. My dad and my big brother were my superheroes, and then when I discovered just how I loved my brother, I was even less inclined to pick my own model to follow. I didn’t know of anyone who’d made their dreams come true in my situation, so what would have been the point? No, instead I went after my brother’s role models or, later on, his random crushes.
First there was Marat Safin. My brother was obsessed with him. He’d never watched a tennis match in his life, but after running across his photo, he became an aficionado. What did I do? Well, I picked up tennis and was fairly good at it. I made it to a few competitions and might have continued to do well. But then my brother saw this Japanese movie made after a manga, where two men fall in love. They’d met in high school and one of them was on the track team. Yup, you guessed it, as his obsession with runners got hold of him, so did mine. Track replaced tennis and I did soon make the school’s track team. That ended up helping a lot with my college admission.
Then there was David Beckham. I think that one’s one of my brother’s favorites to this day. Then some rock star or another, then the actors. I lost track of all of them. I do remember Keanu, Brad, Stuart Townsend, the lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars, Adam Lambert, and a few others. I had vast collections of photos of all of them. I knew everything they did, watched their movies or went to their concerts. Anything to figure out what it was in them that made my brother like them so I could try to emulate it.
I never managed to be anything but myself. And even if I had, I was his little brother despite everything, so he never once looked my way with a shred of interest. Yet I kept trying to copy whoever caught his eye, even after having left home. Play toys, fuck buddies, celebrity crushes, I got myself acquainted with all of them. In a twisted way, I never gave up hope of my brother suddenly realizing he wanted me. Bad? Maybe. But it kept me alive, pushed me forward.
I particularly liked the originality of this story with the anonymous Br0th3rly blog posts and the letters from a publisher interspersed with the chapters, which gave a different perspective of the tale, making it unusual and adding some humour.
From the start, my heart went out to Tristan because he considered himself a ‘dirty little pervert’ for loving and lusting after his older brother since he was aged ten, and had continued to do so ever since. Even after he found out they weren’t blood related, he’d fought the urge to tell Trevor how he felt because they had grown up together and Tristan was ashamed. His attraction, the need to bottle up his feelings, and the frustration at seeing his brother with other guys were well demonstrated through his internal thoughts and actions. Tristan’s fear of being discovered and considered disgusting by Trevor and his parents were paramount in controlling his motives and actions.
It’s clear Trevor loves his brother and cares for him too. Despite Tristan behaving awkwardly at times, there’s a special bond and chemistry between these two guys from the start and when they finally get together and make out, it’s all good. I was a little perplexed at Tristan running away without saying goodbye and vowing to himself not to return to his family home ever again. But that all contributed to the angst. I love the longing and heartache in m/m romances.
I enjoy Alina’s writing style and the pace of this story. The story gripped me from the start and I kept reading, wanting to discover what happened. I loved the addition to the story via the blog posts and the emails from the publisher. I would have liked one or two more of them toward the end of the story. At the beginning, I even wondered if Trevor was writing the blog as an added twist. The story was wrapped up rather swiftly, with a happy for now ending, hinting at a HEA. I would have liked more scenes with Tristan and Trevor being together and seeing their relationship develop, but this is a novella, so I’m just being greedy.
As a fan of taboo stories and brotherly love, I was hoping that’s where the story was heading, but Alina stresses several times that these guys are not blood-related. Even so, as step brothers, I still enjoyed the format and the outcome of the story. I liked the hint at taboo even if it wasn’t as such. The story made a refreshing change.
1x$10 WIP Gift Card
2×1 Backlist Title from WIP – anthologies and individual releases included
Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.
Review cross-posted on Gay Book Reviews.