Chase Connor has once again tried to make me cry happy tears with his astounding talent at writing emotional characters that are 100% realistic and storylines that don’t shy away from breaking your heart.
Title: Between Enzo and the Universe
Author: Chase Connor
Release: January 14, 2020
Genre: Gay Fiction
Goodreads Link: Here
Between Enzo & the Universe is a story about a boy who emigrates from France with his family to Canada in the hopes that a better life might be found. Enzo arrives in Canada as a boy with a happy, healthy family…and ends up a young man with no one left in the world. How does the universe apologize for that?
I could talk all day about these characters. The book has a smallish sized cast which might actually be considered large in number except that Connor does an AMAZING job at focusing the story on a) our main character and b) only the characters who are most important at the time.
I guess the best way to show how talented Connor is at writing characters is to say that characters are there to aide the plot AND NOTHING ELSE. No one is extra, no one is wasted, everyone is FULL and IMPORTANT.
My favorite character was Peter. I love his free as a bird attitude. It was a great contrast to the more stoic and guarded Enzo. From an “as if I knew the characters in real life” perspective, Enzo just needed Peter’s cool, caring demeanor and Peter needed to find someone so calm, loving and like-minded. Oh! I got all the feels from them!
The word building in the book was amazing. I absolutely felt like I was there with Enzo. Some of those beautiful locations in Quebec are described well enough to make me want to visit! Connor uses common locations, restaurants, a street fair, classrooms, but they are vivid and well written in a unique way. For instance, there is a section detailed in Enzo’s apartment. Connor mentions the sound of voices outside of the apartment and this little bit of description really helped me see, not just the furniture or the lack there of, but the idea of everyone else being so much better off which is only described in their tittering outside his window. We don’t “see” them, we just know they are happier than Enzo and we feel his pain.
The themes of managing loss, life, loneliness, and trust issues are the main focus but you can’t miss the timely message about acceptance of immigrants and kindness towards others. All it takes is one person to do something nice for another person to change their whole out look and this book shows that is possible in the world.
Connor uses the writing style I like: simple! I’m smart enough to read more complex vocabulary but when I’m reading for leisure, that’s what I want! A leisurely, easy read. Being simple does not mean the book is any less spectacular.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. Prepare to possibly cry, to fall in love and to crave more of Chase Connor’s writing as soon as you’re done with this sweet story.