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4.43  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Hiroku Hayashi is just coming into his own when he meets Seth Barrett on the basketball courts in the suburbs of Austin. With his shredded jeans, tousled hair and risky behavior, Seth more than lives up to his bad boy reputation.

Seth sees in Hiroku something Hiroku doesn’t see in himself—potential. With a hero-like worship, Hiroku embarks on a complicated and intense relat
Kindle Edition, 264 pages
Published June 7th 2018 by Laura Lascarso
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Laura Lascarso I think you should go for Hiroku first, because even though I wrote it second, it lives in sequential order and will give more meaning to The Bravest …moreI think you should go for Hiroku first, because even though I wrote it second, it lives in sequential order and will give more meaning to The Bravest Thing, having read it. Also, ending with TBT will bring you more closure (I think).(less)
Laura Lascarso I invented this name, 広苦 You're right in that no parent in their right mind would give their child this name. It is perhaps a situation where I took a…moreI invented this name, 広苦 You're right in that no parent in their right mind would give their child this name. It is perhaps a situation where I took a liberty that I shouldn't have.(less)

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Buddy reread with Ele, Jan and Moony. Dec 2019.

Still one of the best book i have ever had the pleasure of reading. Hits harder the second time.

Infinity Stars for Hiroku.

This is one of those stories that will stay with me for life.

This is the story of Hiroku, told in his POV, taking the Now/Then format and how his first love went to shit. I can’t bring myself to write a proper review. I will try writing something though. Or just quote the damn book!

May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Even if our love was a poison slowly consuming us,that didn't make it any less potent.

A powerful story of an all consuming,almost obsessive love...

A prequel to The Bravest Thing, this is Hiroku and Seth's story.

Hiroku is only 15 when the story starts but don't let that put you off.Laura Lascarso is one of the best Authors at writing YA,her characters have such a maturity about them and Hiroku's age is important here as he falls prey to Seth who is a few years older.

An encounter on
Re-edited 01/01/2020

***** 5 Addictive Stars *****

Re-read - Dec 2019

Intense, powerful and consuming.

Loved it as much as the first time.

Thank you Ele, Moony and Shile for this ride! Sorry about my 🐌 pace. 😖

Original review, 10/JUN/2018

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this forever, since I finished The Bravest Thing, exactly one year ago, lusting over Seth’s intense and fascinating character.

A big thank you to, Laura Lascarso for being brave enough to write such a risky and uncon
Moony Eliver
(after first read) I would say rtc, but I’m not sure if I’ll be up for it. I might never be okay again. Thanks to the several friends whose reviews pushed this one to the top of my list. I love you and I hate you. 🙃
(10 days later) I'm still thinking about Hiroku and his story at least a few times per day. I'm not sure I've ever had a character stick with me so fiercely.
(sometime around my second read) After reading this perfect review, I may just retire from review writi
I love reading about flawed people finding each other and building a relationship out of love, communication, respect, and loyalty. I love seeing them learn how to be something good together, building each other up and navigating the ups and downs of life as a team, while maintaining their own individuality.

I didn’t find that in this book.

Well, I did find flawed people. And ups and downs. And love, too, in a way that I can’t elaborate much about without spoilers.
This was one of the most dysfu
h o l l i s
"This must be love."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because nothing has ever felt so fucking awful before."
"This isn't love, Seth, it's sobriety."

Readers interested in HIROKU who have never read anything by this author before.. I would highly recommend starting with THE BRAVEST THING and then backtracking to this. Yes, I realize this is the 'before' part of this story. But you need to understand what you're getting into before picking this one up. I'm not scaring you off but.. trust me. For those of you
***Edit/Addition below***

I finished reading this yesterday and I'm still not quite sure I can coherently express how much I loved it or why. I'm super grateful to good friends aka Moony who nudge me to try things I skirt around like YA.

Laura Lascarso has gifted us with the story of Hiroku Hayashi (such a beautiful name) a teenager who at 15 feels more alien than most. He's a first generation Japanese-American living in Austin, Tx., he's an artist, which by nature makes him an outsider, and he's
Danny Tyran
If you're looking for a nice romance, forget this book. If you're looking for a story of Alpha male and nice beta, forget this novel too. Because it's a story about abuse, emotional manipulation and addiction: over-reliance of a naive young man, Hiroku, on a bipolar, narcissistic and abusive one, Seth, and hard drug dependency. And this novel has no happy ending.

In fact, this story, told from Hiroku's point of view in present (Now) and past (Then) tense, is very realistic. Therefore, as in real
I was so lucky to read a review copy of this book, I had read The Bravest Thing last year, for me it was an incredibly moving story. When I heard there would be more I couldn’t have been happier. This book....there is so much depth of emotions as well as content. The MC is YA but the story is really more mature. It was so real, as unfortunate as the truly sad and hard parts of this book are that’s what is real & the writing is so fantastic for me I could feel the emotions. I still want more afte ...more
Wow... I loved it ♥️

Even though it made me angry and drained me emotionally.
It’s impossible not to fall in love with Hiroku and feel compassionate to him because what he’s been through 💔
But for some weird reason I was stuck on Seth. It’s so easy to hate him, and for the most part I did. But I kept asking myself—Why? Why? WHY?!?.
He was the villain, but also the victim of his own mind. I would pay a lot of money for his own story 😂
I honestly don’t know why I’ve waited that long to read it. I se
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I kind of wish I would have read this before The Bravest Thing, or at least held off on my review until reading Hiroku. Sometimes you need the complete picture before casting judgments. In hindsight I feel like my review of The Bravest Thing was kind of dismissive of what Hiroku went through. But I didn’t know better at the time. Also, I hated Seth after reading the first book, but I don’t hate him now. I feel compassion for him and his own demons that he was fighting. Even With everything that ...more
Xia Xia
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Xia Xia by: Jan, Judith

Wow! I couldn't put this book down. The abusive, dysfunctional relationship between Hiroku and Seth was like a siren's call at midnight. When I was not reading, I was thinking about Seth and Hiroku. Before sleep and after sleep, I was thinking about Seth and Hiroku. I completely became obsessed with their story.
Seth was the type of character I enjoy reading about, the yandere of Japanese manga culture, so obsessive with the object of his love that he would rather destroy his lover, than bear the
True Loveislovereview
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, lgbtq
This was a very remarkable read. Intense to the bone.
Deep moving, sometimes balancing at unbearable ..

Hiroku seduced by Seth in such a sweet way, you just can't resist him.

The intensity was sometimes overwhelming. I was absorbed by all those highs and lows...
Hiroku raised in a strict Japanese culture, where his creative mind was set to zero, because he had to be practical and efficient, he found a sort of freedom with Seth.

Through the whole story I've been kept on the edge of my chair... every
Richard Derus
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sampled
Real Rating: 3.25* of five

Read the sample, was just not able to get past the vocabulary...even smart kids don't usually speak in this kind of formal English...and the whole Spring's Awakening vibe puts me off my feed. I'm from Austin, and the made-up subdivision and high school didn't sit well with me, though I know the choice is a practical one.

It's definitely me, don't let my unenthusiastic response put you off sampling it at the very least.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read any reviews beforehand, just caught some bits and pieces here and there. And my impression was that Seth was the bad guy who corrupted Hiroku. And that might be true. But perhaps I misjudged the situation a bit. Is he the only one at fault? Who was manipulating who exactly? And when exactly did their relationship started going downhill? Questions like these swarmed my head while I was reading, along with 'why, why, why?'
“Who was right and who was wrong? It’d be so easy to make
Lori¸¸¸.•*❀Ɍɛɑɗs̱LɪƙɛIʈs̱H̱ɛɍJɔɓ  유❤유
Holy crap, that was intense! I stayed up until 3:30 am to be able to finish this in one sitting.

My heart broke that Hiroku was put through the wringer at such a young age and that Seth was was able to be such a master manipulator so young too. The relationship was pretty much doomed from the start because Seth seemed like a narcissist and Hiroku was already codependent because of his need to please.

I can't say much more because I don't want to give spoilers away, but if you can handle a brutal r
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, artist, hurt-comfort
“..............................” That’s me. Speechless after reading this heart wrenching, beautiful, tortured story written by an author who is becoming one of my favorites in the M/M genre.

Did this hurt? Yes. But the flawed characters Laura Lascarso so vividly created hurt much more than I did. Than I do, because I can’t stop thinking about him, Hiroku. About the other one, Seth. They are so very real and so very flawed that they sprung up for these pages as living specters for me to see. Gor
Al *the semi serial series skipper*
I've had this book on my tbr since it was released. I have friends that have read and reread this book and still I wasn't ready to delve into it.

Smart decision on my part because I don't think I would have appreciated it, I didn't enjoy it as my friends did but I might have dnf is I'd read it then.

Hiroku's story is a sad one, filled with manipulations upon manipulations. It's sad because you could see how bright eyed and earnest he was and then you could see how he just spiraled.

The story and
Sam (AMNReader)
Ok, well,oof.

You tell me, who was the monster now?

So something I figured out AFTER reading this is that it's more of character / motivation study. It's truly a prequel. If you are one of the 20 people who read NAN by Elizabeth Kingston, you know what I mean.

This was better done that. After binging and ultimately finishing this book, with way too many flinches from my own heart, I held my breath to crack the next one open. I knew that I would not be able to read a continuation of the prior sto
4.5 stars from me. Can I truthfully say that I actually enjoyed reading it?? Not really 😕. It was well-written which is par for the course as far as Laura is concerned, but the dysfunctional 'relationship' between Hiro and Seth was completely toxic, and became a dangerous obsession for them both. Abuse and addiction are a combustible combination.

Even though I read The Bravest Thing last year, and was obviously curious about Hiro's background in view of what we learned in that story, nothing cou
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the very beginning I was completely captivated by this story. It felt very honest and real.

I loved Hiroku even more in this one. And yes, I loved Seth. I loved learning more about him. He is one of the most fascinating characters I've read about.

The way their intense and complex relationship is shown is incredible.
Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)
Even if our love was a poison slowly consuming us, that didn't make it any less potent. Even if fear was the heart of our love, it didn't make our feelings for each other any less real. And even when Seth sought to hurt me, it didn't necessarily mean he didn't also love me. When a parent disciplines a child, isn't that also a form of love?

Often I wonder when first love became such a rosy and worshipped concept. I wonder if it is a reflection of our self-preservation, as humans, to idolize first
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
Hiroku is an unflinchingly honest story about twisted love, obsession, the persistent cycle of abuse, mental illness and addiction. Addiction to a person. Addiction to drugs. Both are damaging and destructive forces in the life of our narrator, Hiroku. It is told in first person narration alternating between the then and now. Many times throughout reading I had to take a break and watch some reality TV because of the content of this book. It is not a light and easy read or a feel-good story. To ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!
*•.¸✽ Damjana ✽¸.•*
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, favorites
I am really happy I saw this book somewhere on GR and blurb immediately convinced me to buy it and start with reading.
I suggest to start with book Hiroku first and than continue with book The Bravest Thing. It should be marked as Duet, so reader would immediately know Hiroku's story is written in two books. The Bravest Thing was published by publishing company, while Hiroku was published by author helself and it was written later. Author felt like she must told also Hiroku's story before meeting
Sévérin Grimm
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: en-ai-un, m-m, gay
Very realistic story of a young man who falls in love with a guitarist who drags him into the downfall of drugs until he almost dies. The influence of the loved one is very well described and moving. We understand very well why Hiroku is so seduced by that musicien and is unable to prevent his own fall.
Kerish |  Wesmie's purple skittle.
First of all, thanks to those who suggested that I read this before The Bravest Thing. 🙏
I started reading exactly a week ago and I've finished both now with a lot of rests (I was reading a fluffy couple's story in between). I've actually finished 3 books in between reading these 2 - it was that stressful. But it was also so damn beautiful that I'd like to do a reread very soon. What a lovely writing to so it's easily getting into my all time favorite shelf.
I fell in love with the characters, bot
Paloma Villasenor
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was something else. I even believe him, damn.
5 Stars

Synopsis: Hiroku is 15 years old, goes to an artistic school, and is virtually invisible to everyone. He works hard to make it that way. One day, while playing pickup basketball in the neighbourhood, Hiroku sees Seth. They start hanging out together, and then become involved in a relationship. Seth has issues with drugs, and eventually Hiroku, in an effort to share more things with Seth, tries it out.
The story is told in THEN and NOW portions, with the NOW taking place in a rehab facility
Sakina Carter
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a quick and freaking intense book.

There were times that I had to remind myself that the two main characters were teenage boys. I mean holy shit, the level of toxic that their relationship was made you forget that when Seth and Hiroku first started they were 15 and 17 years old.

This book was raw and gritty and dark.

I don't know what it says about me, but I wanted a different ending, because toxic or not, I truly believe that these two boys were in love.

I would have been happier if book
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Laura Lascarso wants you to stay up way past your bedtime reading her stories. She aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of storytelling to heal and transform a society.

When not writing, Laura can be found screaming “finish” on the soccer fields, rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender, and trying to convince politicians to act on climate change. She l

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