DNF @ 26%
There were lots of signs right from the start that this was written for a different audience or maybe a different generation. The diversity among the cast of characters felt forced and was distracting, like the fact that nearly every character who had lines of dialog was gay. There was also way too much focus on a lesbian couple who just had a baby and this wasn't only an annoying distraction but FF couples and pregnancies are two things I don't want in my MM romance. Then there's the author's bizarre content warning list, which includes 'mentions of dental surgery'...? Hilariously, there are several scenes involving heavy drinking and there's Leo's stay in a mental institution, yet neither of those things are warned for. That gave me a good laugh.
But then there's Leo. Leo has an anxiety disorder that requires him to take medication and have a therapy dog with him 24/7. Why does Leo have anxiety to such a degree? Well, his father put high academic expectations on him throughout his teen years and this led to Leo having a complete mental break down, during which he was hospitalized for months and even years later, his anxiety still controls his entire life and is his entire identity.
You may be asking why I'm talking about this in a rude, dismissive way instead of being sympathetic. Well, it's because Leo uses his anxiety disorder as an excuse to avoid being a decent human being and he uses it to justify treating others like shit. Like how he was too focused on his own issues 24/7 during his hospital stay that over the course of several months, he NEVER ONCE contacted Cisco (who he was practically engaged to at the time) to even tell him that he was alive and fine. In fact, Leo NEVER contacted Cisco ever again. He flat out ghosted the man he had been living with and in a serious relationship with (serious as in, Cisco was going to propose soon) all because addressing his selfish behavior was too anxiety inducing and Leo's top priority in life is to always cater to his anxiety's demands. Never mind that Cisco was left broken hearted, confused and blaming himself for a situation that wasn't his fault. That doesn't matter. The most important thing in Leo's life is his anxiety. Everybody and everything else goes second, including not treating the love of your life like shit.
During the next 7 YEARS, Leo continues using his anxiety as an excuse to not apologize to Cisco, despite them living in the same city and Leo keeping close tabs on what Cisco is doing. When Leo is forced to come face to face with Cisco, do you think he apologizes? Oh, no. Not Leo. Because the thought of apologizing is anxiety inducing and we already know that Leo will never push himself even one tiny inch when it's not for his own benefit. In fact, just the thought of apologizing is enough to make Leo collapse on his couch and for his dog to go get his medication and a bottle of water for him. And then there's poor Cisco, who nearly passed out from shock when he sees Leo again and he's so incredibly grateful to have Leo back that he's not making a fuss about Leo's refusal to apologize or explain why he had ghosted Cisco. Cisco...you deserve a lot better because people like Leo will never prioritize anybody or anything other than themselves and their own issues.
I don't mean to be rude because this type of behavior is currently all the rage in younger generations, but I have zero tolerance for it. Having Leo being presented as a victim when he's a selfish asshole and doesn't even try to be a better person is annoying.
Stories like this featuring characters like this do have an audience but I'm not one of them. Mental health issues are important and I don't want them brushed aside in stories, but in my opinion, this particular depiction is swinging the pendulum to the other extreme and that's not good either.