Weight of the World by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Psychological – Suicide/Suicide Ideation, MC Age Gap, Angst, Hurt/Healing
Length: 241 pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
Zack lost his job, his apartment, and his hope, which is why he ends up on the roof of a high rise, certain that one final step will solve his problems. But a mysterious stranger named Rob happens to be on the roof that night too. He talks Zack down, convincing him there’s still hope left in the world. Zack thinks maybe he’s right, which is why he’s shocked when he turns on the news the next morning to find out Rob jumped himself. Disturbed and confused, he searches for answers, starting with Rob’s brother Tommy Rayburn.
It’s been Tommy’s job to take care of his brother since they were kids, taking the blows from their father so Rob wouldn’t have to. Tommy thought he could protect him, even if it meant carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Considering Rob threw himself off a building, he obviously couldn’t.
Then he meets Zack, a friend of Rob’s who’s suspiciously evasive about how they knew each other. But they’re both grieving and determined to find out why Rob jumped. Answers don’t come easily and soon, they’re soothing each other with sweat-slicked, passionate encounters. Hot as things get in the bedroom, it doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more between them than mind-blowing sex and their pain. But the heaviness is still there, threatening to pull them under, and if they can’t open up with each other to lighten the load, the weight just might be enough to crush them both.
The synopsis is very clear about the storyline of Weight of the World. Two men with backstories cross paths because another man commits suicide, leaping to his death from a building in Atlanta. One MC is grieving the loss of his younger brother, the other is grieving the loss of someone who came into his life when he needed him, exiting in a devastating fashion. Survivors guilt and the what ifs run deep throughout this story. To say that there is a sadness underpinning the book is a truth. The topic is one that’s touched many people and suicide ideation and actual suicide elicits strong emotion from people – I don’t know too many who don’t have an opinion. This is fiction based on something powerful but the topic is handled sympathetically, albeit via the initial and ongoing personal touch and emotional connection of sex. A mutual sorrow over Rob’s death may be the catalyst for Thomas and Zack’s coming together, but sexual healing is definitely a tie that binds in the beginning, which progresses to communication, support, understanding and so much more.
There isn’t much I can add to the plot. So I’ll simply add thoughts and quotes.
I really liked the MCs. While Zack and Thomas each have alternating POV, there are actually three POV in this story. Although dead, Rob has his own POV throughout which allows the reader to slowly understand why and how he got to the point he did. It also allows a more emotional interlinking of the three pivotal characters. I applaud the time given to make sure Rob had a strong voice. I think it’s necessary to help people understand both Rob and Zack’ s common perspective and different outcomes. As for Zack and Thomas, I could relate to both of them for their differences as well as their common threads. Zack’s self worth has been eroded over the years to the point where suicide ideation became all-encompassing. Thomas has carried responsibility for himself and his younger brother, for Rob, for as long as he’s been able. All have experienced different but intense upbringings. Neither primary character has taken the time to stop and smell the roses for different reasons – Zack can’t afford to, Thomas hasn’t allowed himself to. Both Zack and Thomas endeared themselves to me because of their need to understand Rob and the reasons why someone so young, bright and nice would get to where he did – Zack can personally relate but had no idea Rob felt as he did. Thomas believes he failed because his younger brother couldn’t come to him.
Primarily, the book is what it is, a sexy romance. A sexy romance with depth – a personal genre- favourite when written right. And it is written right. The chemistry is palpable. The sex in this book is hot. Very hot – as in break the shower hot. As in I don’t know you very well but I need you hot. As in emotional connection hot. The heat ratcheted up as it became about more than just the physical, more than just fucking the pain away. If you don’t like the use of sex as a form of communication in healing then you may be reticent about Weight of the World because it is used as the initial medium for Zack and Thomas to feel better. However, it works and it’s also well utilised alongside a deepening of Zack and Thomas’ feelings for one another. As they get to know and compliment one another, as they work though Rob’s suicide and what that means for them.
This book definitely is a seamless co-write but with that came a similarity, at times, of Zack and Thomas’ alternating chapters. Occasionally I would have to stop and think whose POV I was reading. Unless it progresses the plot I don’t always like an alternating POV, but it works well here, progressing and pacing the plot nicely throughout. So no major complaints, more just sayin’ so potential readers know.
I inhaled this book in one sitting and I rarely do that nowadays. I was actually sick as I read but I refused to put it down – it refused to let me. As far as I’m concerned that is pure entertainment gold. Characters who tug at my heartstrings and make me feel to my core, combined with a good story and a need to turn those pages, trump anything else in my reading world.
And gah! look at that cover. I can definitely say that it matches the intensity and passion of the book.
I really enjoy reading good books, whatever the story may be, and I’ve read some very good, very diverse books this year. Weight of the World can now be added to that list. If you’re looking for a sexy contemporary romance with depth, with MCs who need one another and have some sad but meaningful connection, including a fateful but deep one they can’t let go of. If you like hurt and healing and having emotion pulled from you with a timely topic at the core, as well as a HEA, then I highly recommend Weight of the World. 5 Stars!