Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.
David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.
Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.
Santino Hassell’s Sunset Park tells the story of two men who overcome their cultural and personality differences to pursue a relationship. The fact that it’s a friends-to-lovers story makes their attraction more believable – if only slightly.
The author captured Raymond’s slacker “voice” very well. Between the pot and the short term employment, I had to wonder what David saw in him, especially in the beginning. David’s ambition stood in stark contrast to Raymond’s inertia. Yes, Raymond eventually made improvements, but not until circumstances forced him to. As much as I didn’t like Raymond, David’s personality drew me in. I found him to be an all around good guy. Unfortunately, for Raymond that meant I thought he could do better than his unmotivated slacker friend.
Hassell’s realistic writing style captured both men exactly as they were intended. My dislike of Raymond drove my two star rating. The character ruined the book for me, but I’m sure other readers will feel differently.