Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.
Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.
Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.
The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?
Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts
OH GOD OH GOD Y’ALL. Get ready to fall so in love with a character so hard your heart will shatter into a million tiny pieces.
Josh. *weeping emoji* This kid is gonna mess you up from page one. He’s just lost his mom, he’s homeless, gay, and suicidal. He heads north because his vision of death involves laying down in the snow and never getting back up. He finds a town with good fall leaf color (after an imagined conversation with his dead mother) and sets up under a covered bridge near a pond. He expects to stay there until the snow falls. He doesn’t expect Mark.
Mark lives alone in a little cabin, working odd jobs and painting houses to get by. He left behind his parents and a slew of brothers who always wanted him to be something he’s not, and might not be able to accept one thing he is, to join the Marines. After that he ended up in a small town hours away from where he grew up, dealing with his PTSD.
When he sees Josh walking on the side of the highway, something in his eyes sparks something in Mark. Then it turns out the bridge Josh chose sits on the same pond banks as Mark’s cabin. Throughout the whole book you get the feeling that fate – sometimes in the form of an apparition of Josh’s mom – wants them to be together.
There are plenty of reasons they shouldn’t be, naturally. Josh is barely eighteen, Mark takes him in to help him but doesn’t want to take advantage. Mark has trouble letting people in emotionally, and Josh is still suicidal. They both have work to do before they can really contribute to a healthy relationship. But it’s hard to say no to fate, isn’t it?
I had to pull my blanket over my head and cry a few times while reading, but in the end they were tears of joy.