This was my first time reading Mr. Hassell’s work, and I have to say, I AM A FAN! I’d heard about this book from a couple of M/M romance reader groups I frequent on Facebook. My favorite type of gay romance? Friends to lovers and this story didn’t disappoint.
What you should know: Sutphin Boulevard is a train station, located at Sutphin Boulevard and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, on the F train line. Michael and Nunzio originally hail from Queens. I saw this entire story playing as a movie in my head while reading. It was relatable and extremely well-written. As a Brooklyn gal, I love stories that feature NYC.
Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends since they were in their early teens. Nunzio, the Italian Stallion as I like to call him, has always known he was gay. He came out to his family, and it didn’t go over well, which is an understatement. His family was less than supportive. Michael, the responsible Puerto Rican as I like to call him, has never come out to his family. Some family members suspect he’s gay since he’s never brought a woman home and Nunzio seems to be the only person to breach his inner circle.
Michael and Nunzio are both NYC public school teachers. YES! Admirable occupations. As a former public school attendee, the teachers deserve all the praise. It’s not pretty. I attended back in the 80s; I can only imagine what it’s like now. You get a sense of the hoops and roadblocks Michael and Nunzio have to navigate on a day to day basis, and I sympathize. The reader gets a great deal of insight into the bureaucracy. This story starts off with a bang. You don’t anticipate what happens in the first few chapters but hot damn, I was hooked. Probably one of the hottest sex scenes I’ve read in a romance. I started reading it during my commute to work, and I swore flames were about to shoot up out of my Kindle, LOL! This story is so much more than a friends to lover’s tale. It’s about vulnerability and pushing away the people who love you. It’s about battling demons, it’s about self-expression, and telling the people you care about how you feel while there’s still time.
Everything about this story was on point. The writing, the editing, the character development. EVERYTHING! Mr. Hassell knocked this one out of the park. I eagerly await the next installment in the Five Boroughs series. Honestly, I’m not that intrigued by the characters featured. They didn’t exactly have winning personalities, but I’m anxious to see what Mr. Hassell has up his sleeve. If you’re looking for a hot gay romance with characters that are far from one dimensional and some explosive sex scenes, add Sutphin Boulevard to your to-be-read pile.
Reviewed by Natalie