A Fugitive in Grass Valley by I.M. Flippy / ★★★★☆
Summary: Lev lives a vaguely content life in Grass Valley, working as a barista and part-time art teacher and getting over a bad break up. Ernie shows up with a shady military past and a memory full of tragedies.
He pointed at the angry gray and red stuff. “So…emotional state during an average day. That’s most of the time.” Then he point at the upper left: the brighter colors, the sense of calm in the dabs of light blues, cut by bursts of happier yellows. It looked sort of like a peaceful rain with sun shining though it.
“That’s when I’m…”
“When you’re what?” I was a bit on the edge of my seat.
“That’s when I’m near you.”
This book is delightful. I’ll start off by saying that when I decided to read this, I was very sad because my cat just died and I was in the mood for nothing, but at the same time really wanted to read something to get my mind off of it. This book was perfect for my gloominess. It grabbed me from the first page with its wit and was easy to fall right into, and I spent my entire morning reading it and finished it within the day. It’s one of those books that once you pick it up, its light enough and consuming enough that you don’t want to put it down.
What I love about this book was its balance. It’s funny (made me laugh out loud a few times), sweet, and has just the right amount of angst and darkness. Both main characters, Lev and Ernie, have their own struggles to get through, and I love how they tackle them independently and together and the way they balanced each other out. They had such a fantastic dynamic, and I love how the author takes up a good portion of the novel to establish a friendship between them. It’s so good at establishing tension and dispelling any insta-love.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book. It does get sexually explicit, which is not my thing, but I can’t mark that down as a criticism, just a personal preference. I do think I was expecting something…heavier to happen at the end, and it was a bit of a quick wrap up, but it was such a delightful book it’s only a minor issue. This book was a wonderful pick-me-up. My mood was gray and red and this book was happy blues and yellows (see above quote).
I loved Lev so much. He was hilarious and kind and good natured and a little eccentric, and the lines that I think sum him up best are: “I just did it because it was the right thing to do.” “God […] You are such a Hufflepuff.” He was the highlight of this book for me and I want him to be my friend. Ernie was sweet and a bit more low-key than Lev, and this balance of their personalities gave them great chemistry. I loved how the events of the plot brought out the dynamic between them, revealing what they needed and what they could give one another. Also, I loved all the minor characters we met along the way. Bianca was fantastic.
The writing was wonderful. The story alternated between Lev’s and Ernie’s points of view and their personalities were captured so well. The writing was perfectly witty, and wit and humor is something I find takes a certain kind of talent to achieve in prose. This book was lovely and easy to read, and paced in such a way that made it difficult to find a good stopping point.
Was I satisfied?
Yes! This book was sweet and funny and addicting and had such wonderful characters. It cheered me right up over the sadness over the loss of my cat- and that’s saying a lot, because I was very sad. A Fugitive in Grass Valley is wonderful.