Alright, confession time. I’ve received a fair number of ARCs that I’ve not reviewed, so that’s what I’m going to be knocking out over the next little bit. It was shitty of me not to get to these beforehand, so I’m going to make up for it now.
Second Hand opens up with Paul’s girlfriend going psycho and leaving him with a house full of things he doesn’t need and a yard full of modern art he doesn’t like. Because he can’t afford the house by himself, he starts selling his stuff to a local pawn shop run by El. Though El doesn’t typically take housewares because they don’t sell in the pawn world, he becomes a smitten kitten with Paul. And, as I’m sure you can tell by the cover, they start to get down. As Paul continues to put his life back in order (usefully metaphored through his cleaning of his house and the revamping of his yard and garden), their relationship continues to gain steam.
Cullinan and Sexton are both veterans of the m/m field with roughly 30 or 40 books out between the two of them. The story warmed my heart, and the story flowed quickly. The perspective switches from first to third person quite a bit. I didn’t find it distracting, but it does take a little getting used to. I can admit that there are moments that are a bit sappy, but sometimes sappy is what you need.
Something else to commend about this book is the presence of women. Sure, a lot of them are tropes like the psycho ex-girlfriend, the wise Latina grandmother, and the can’t-see-the-guy-I-like-is-gay girl, but at least they are there. I can’t count the number of m/m books I’ve read about people who in theory have extensive lives where there are usually either no female characters or only one woman who ever speaks. I realize by the very nature of the m/m genre that they aren’t going to be the stars of the show, but you’d think they’d at least make the supporting cast more often with so many female authors in the genre.
Second Hand is fun and funny, with enough twists to keep it fresh. And there’s a dog. Who doesn’t like a dog?
JMF Rating: 6/10
‘Til next time,
Note: This book was received from NetGalley in return for a review.