Author: Adriana Herrera
Book: Finding Joy
As his twenty-sixth birthday approaches, Desta Joy Walker finds himself in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the one place he’s been actively avoiding most of his life. For Desta, the East African capital encompasses some of the happiest and saddest parts of his life–his first home and the place where his father died. When an unavoidable work obligation lands him there for twelve weeks, he may finally have a chance for the closure he so desperately needs. What Desta never expected was to catch a glimpse of his future as he reconnects with the beautiful country and his family’s past.
Elias Fikru has never met an opportunity he hasn’t seized. Except, of course, for the life-changing one he’s stubbornly ignored for the past nine months. He’d be a fool not to accept the chance to pursue his doctoral studies in the U.S., but saying yes means leaving his homeland, and Elias isn’t ready to make that commitment.
Meeting Desta, the Dominican-American emergency relief worker with the easy smile and sad eyes, makes Elias want things he’s never envisioned for himself. Rediscovering his country through Desta’s eyes emboldens Elias to reach for a future where he can be open about every part of himself. But when something threatens the future that’s within their grasp, Elias and Desta must put it all on the line for love.
My Thoughts on “Finding Joy”
This was one of the first books I read last year, and why it took me so long to post this review idk.
At the risk of sounding overly cheesy, I found finding joy to be one of the most heartwarming and joyful reads of my summer and maybe even the whole year – but I will reassess in December.
I was so impressed because I went in knowing that the book was going to touch on a lots of heavy topics; heartbreak, identity, finding love in supposedly temporary situation, cultural differences and being gay in a country where it’s still a crime – and all of this on characters in their 20s. But Adriana Herrera found a way to weave strength, love, joy, romance, fun and a little bit of pop culture into the story. Whoa!
I loved Desta and Eli’s love story. I loved ‘watching’ them be friends, and then falling in love with them. Theirs was a delicious slow-burning, deep, and communicative love. Was there angst, of course, but overall they dealt with their internal issues separately and then did a good job of communicating what they were feeling to each other in the end.
Both characters are lovable and sweet. Desta’s ‘antsiness’ was adorable and Elias’s sweet, calm and levelheaded nature is something I can only hope to attain one day. He was wonderful and I wish I could’ve gotten the opportunity to go through his own experience from his point of view and not Desta’s.
If you love romance, you don’t want to pass up on this book. It’s a feel-good, steamy but slow-burn romance that delicately handled very heavy themes.
What are you reading? Please let me know in the comments!
Hope you’re safe and doing well. x
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