Review: Interborough by Santino Hassell

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The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review.

I was about to start writing this review when I realized I didn’t write reviews for the first 3 books in the Five Borughs series, which is a crime. Five Boroughs is probably my favorite romance series ever; I didn’t like the first book, Sutphin Boulevard, that much, sure, but I really enjoyed the third, First & First, and absolutely loved the second, Sunset Park, where Raymond & David’s story begins. And by loved I mean I finished this book and suddenly all books were awful by comparison and I need to read it again right now kind of loved. So yeah, I was really excited for Interborough, which is about Raymond and David again, and I’m happy to say I’m not disappointed. At all.

What makes me really love this series is how real the characters are. Even when I don’t like them that much – I’m not the biggest Michael or Caleb fan around, for example – I can see that they are very well developed and, well, real. In Interborough it isn’t different; David and Raymond have completely different voices and are completely different, independent characters, which is why I love their romance so much. I love how they have to work for their relationship, how they have to change & understand each other better if they want to stay together.

I also a firm believer that love isn’t enough when it comes to any kind of relationship, romantic or not, so characters having to deal with their differences is like, my kryptonite. The conflict here in Interborough is real, not at all forced, natural, the kind I find much more likely to see in real life because it comes from the characters & how they interact with each other (and since the characters are, as I said before, super real, it works really well). 

I’ve seen many people saying Five Boroughs is a bit darker than your average romance series, but that’s another reason I like it. I don’t even find it dark, just realistic, which I love (weird coming from a fantasy reader like me, but in romance I reaaally do not like it when the conflict is forced/coming out of nowhere/just there to make the main couple fight. I like a good angst, but give me a reason for it to exist first).

The writing is also really good & I really liked the secondary characters. We finally meet Tonya here and I loved her (can we have a Meredith/Tonya book in the future? That would be awesome), though Chris is probably still my favorite from Ray’s crew. I also appreciate how this book & the series in general treats its female characters. M/M is famous for being kind of (or even extremely) misogynist but the women here are awesome & treated well by the narrative.

Anyway, Interborough is an amazing book. I can’t wait to read the next one (or anything Hassell publishes, really). 5.0 stars.

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