Gigi Rosenberg is living his best life: performances in the big city, side gigs at a dance company, a successful drag act, and the boy of his childhood dreams who now adores him. Even if the boyfriend part isn’t the sparkly ride of passion he expected it to be, life is sweet. So when his sister’s wedding calls him back to his hometown, he sees an opportunity to show the hicks from his past how wrong they were about him. Only, his boyfriend isn’t quite on board.
Brock Stubbs left their hometown and his parents behind for a reason, and the prospect of facing them again is terrifying. He swore he’d never go back, but Gigi has made it clear refusal isn’t an option, and Brock will do nearly anything for him. There’s just one deal-breaker of a problem: Brock promised Gigi he was out to everyone, including his parents. He lied.
Growing Pains is the third installment in Cass Lennox’s Toronto Connections series. This novella focuses on Gigi and Brock, who were minor characters in book #2. The two stories stand alone, but this one will probably be more meaningful if you have read the second one first. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in this series, but in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy this one as much. It takes place after Gigi and Brock have been dating for a year and focuses on them having to return to their hometown for Gigi’s sister’s wedding. Both of them really struggled growing up in this town and Brock has sworn he would never go back again. After he found out where the wedding was taking place, he backed out of going to the wedding with Gigi until Gigi called him after leaving for the wedding and essentially demands Brock accompany him because that’s what a supportive boyfriend would do. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the book. I realize that Gigi, as a character, it’s supposed to be melodramatic, and high maintenance, and campy, but there’s a difference in high maintenance and selfish. For much of the book, Gigi just came off to me as selfish and completely disregarding Brock’s feelings and needs. Gigi redeemed himself in the last two chapters so in the end, the story was mostly satisfying. However, it would’ve been nice to see at least some small glances of compassion and understanding toward Brock’s situation before the last two chapters. As it was, I spent much of the book having trouble connecting with Gigi and feeling like he was being incredibly self-centered and annoying. The book is a good read but doesn’t hold up to the others in the series.