We have gone on quite a journey with Brian in this series. In the first book, Enlightened we watch as his friend Jamie goes from best friend to love interest. Then in a heartbreaking scene, we see Jamie’s parents unable to deal with a gay son, and they move across the country to San Diego. Brian is then outted as a gay man, and during book two,k Abandoned, is bullied in school in his small town of Alabama. By the end of book two, Brian has decided the only course for him to take, is to go to California and try to find his true love.
Vanished opens with Brian’s long cross country bus trip. His adoptive parents don’t want him to go, but they understand his misery. They understand what it means to be a gay man in their small town and to not know where your first love is. So they painfully let him go. Unlike many other gay men he meets in San Diego and on the bus, he is not a runaway. He is loved and supported by his parents. But he knows he can’t continue his life unless he at least tries to search for Jamie.
Of course, once in the big city, things are scary. He finally finds housing with other gay men in an apartment building. He finds work as a landscaper and most importantly – friends. There is a strong sense of community where he is and he feels at home. Very homesick for his parents, but he finally feels like he fits in somewhere.
The hard part comes when he actually needs to search for Jamie. He knows Jamie’s parents put him in a “gay rehab” center, which Jamie has since fled. Now no one knows where he is . Is he on the streets? In a shelter? All Brian can do is work to make enough money so he can continue to stay in San Diego and search. Realistically though, it has been almost two years since he has seen him.
And so Brian’s search begins. I still enjoy this series but I will say the angst and emo drama is getting to me a little bit. This book is all about Brian starting a new life. Finding new friends and becoming independent. It is a huge step for Brian. But he eventually finds some guys at an all-gay housing development that open their arms to him. (open their pants too…we will get to that part in a moment).
In one regard I like that the author is really exploring the innocence of Brian versus the reality of his situation. He jumps on a bus to San Diego. That is the easy part. Then the reality sets in once he gets there and realizes just how big San Diego is. Jamie could be anywhere. He is only going on one letter he received from him, telling him Jamie still loves him. But it has been so many months – Brian is looking for a pin in a haystack.
But on the other hand, I wasn’t expecting to fall for Brian’s new friend(s) so much. Mike in particular. They become close – very close. They start as having sex as a means for release. Brian is 18 and horny. Mike is older (I can’t remember how much) and attracted. (there are other men that get involved too) But their relationship becomes much more than just messing around. At least to me it did. And so now we have Brian who is suppose to be in love with Jamie, but also starting a relationship with Mike.And while we know that Brian is having fun having sex, and still in love with Jamie, what about Mike? Is he just being used? I wanted to get more from him (even though this is in Brian’s POV).
By the end, there is a big twist/cliffhanger setting us up for more angst and drama in the next book. I like angst, but yikes, I think we are in for a lot of it in book four. But I’m going to read it because I’m definitely invested in these characters and I need to read their eventual HEA.