“The Other Brother” fits in the same world as Meghan Quinn’s “My Best Friend’s Ex” and “Twisted Twosome”. There is a sweetness deep in “The Other Brother” that I sense comes from an element of true-to-life-ness. The Hero Aaron, or as he’s known in the other two books, Smalls, is a hulk with a tender-heart. Aaron was raised by a single mother with drug, and alcohol issues. She had two other sons – Aaron’s biological brothers; she gave them up for adoption “so they’d have better lives”. At first he felt special for being kept but wondered why he wasn’t chosen to have a better life. But that “special” feeling turned to responsibility and becoming the caregiver and finally a feeling of unworthiness.
Aaron and Amelia fell in Love-At-First-Sight. He ordered the last few slices of Buffalo Chicken pizza and she practically threatened to fight him for them. Their relationship is easy, fun, loving, romantic, sexy, and passionate. When Amelia returns to town she’s angry at Aaron. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. However Fate has other plans and places them together constantly. Aaron takes Amelia’s return as a sign he has a second chance. He’s going to go for it no matter what. Unfortunately Amelia’s engaged and doesn’t no one realizes it’s one of Aaron’s brothers. Aaron and Amelia’s story swings in flashbacks and Points-of-View and is emotional, witty, delightful, and heartbreaking. We get plenty of Tucker, Emma, Racer, Georgiana, and a fabulous cast of friends and elders! Everything Meghan Quinn has set in Binghamton is Pure Gold!
Aaron Walters’s fifteen when he meets his second and youngest brother in the hospital after being born. He’s the one holding the baby and greeting the adoptive parents while his mother’s sneaking a smoke in the bathroom. Aaron’s proud, embarrassed, and jealous, all at once. He’s a big brother and his mother’s not very responsible. His brothers are going to great and loving parents. It’s an emotional rollercoaster he’ll ride for most of his life. His mother makes him feel special because he’s the boy she relies on. She tells him about the great schools, wonderful things and incredible opportunities his brothers will have. His mother boast about his brothers’ wonderful lives and he’s happy for them. As he gets older he understands his mother is seeking attention for her “generosity” to “give them a better life”. But Aaron wonders why he wasn’t worthy of ” a better life”.
In his late twenties he meets Amelia Santos. Aaron happened to have gotten the last few slices of her favorite pizza at her favorite pizza joint. After some tough negotiations Aaron walks away with alternative flavors of pizza and a date with Amelia. Amelia and Aaron are smitten from the word pizza and their witty banter zings and zips freely. Aaron is raised by his mother and coincidentally Amelia is raised by her father. Amelia’s father and Aaron get along famously they are the father and son they each never had. Both Amelia and Aaron know they have found their Forever Person.
When Amelia gets a scholarship to pursue a degree in her dream field she wants Aaron to come with her. Unfortunately Aaron’s mother relies on him too much and he can’t. So Aaron gives up his One True Love so she can have a better life. With all of the opportunities to fulfill all of her dreams. He breaks up with her, giving her no reason, he just breaks up with her thinking it’s for the best. Aaron is certain Amelia can’t love him as much as he loves her and she’ll get over him. Five years pass.
Amelia is moving back to Binghamton from Manhattan because her father has fallen and his dementia has gotten worse. She was a late in life baby so she wants to be near since she was away for so long. Her fiancé found a house to rent and will join her as soon as he finds a job in town. Until then she’ll live there alone and they’ll visit and Skype until he can be with her. So Amelia’s torn. She’s happy to be moving back to Binghamton even though most of her high school friends have moved away. She’s excited about her new job as a high school guidance counselor and thrilled to be back with her father. Although she isn’t sure about his condition. However it’s when she meets the rental property manager that things start going south.
Aaron has come a long way in five years. He was working as a sanitation worker with “dreams” of working in construction. Now he and his two best friends have started their own construction company. He’s also started managing rental properties starting with his former next door neighbor. Aaron gets teased by his friends because he owns a nice home in a neighborhood filled with old people. He also enjoys decorating his home for the seasons. That comes from his childhood. He would see the “nice” homes in the area decked out each season. Aaron vowed one day he’d have a nice house he’d decorate for every holiday. When Mrs. Ferguson’s renter climbs out of her car it’s his most beloved dream and dreaded nightmare all at once. Amelia – his Perfect Forever he could never have. He needs his friends, Little Debbie, and shots.
Amelia and Aaron are thrown together despite the fact Amelia wants to stay as far away from Aaron as possible. She doesn’t want to here his reasons, excuses, or apologies for why he broke up with her. Even though she does. Amelia has a fiancé that she loves dearly. But she does acknowledge, eventually, that she never stopped loving Aaron. Amelia’s father’s condition takes an emotional toll on her as does her memories of her relationship with Aaron. The fact that her fiancé seems to be working even more hours is difficult. Though he still seems devoted to her. Amelia knows she loves her fiancé but the realization that she loves Aaron is becoming difficult to deal with.
It was hard when Amelia said she didn’t want anything to do with him when she moved in next door. But they kept finding themselves having to work together. Therefore, Aaron decided to take that as a sign this is a second chance he needs to grab hold of. So he decides he’s going to win Amelia back. Then he sees a picture of her and her fiancé and recognizes that it’s his oldest younger brother. Amelia knows Aaron has brothers but he didn’t give her any details about them. Aaron’s torn as to what to do with the information. He’s afraid to tell her and risk her comparing him to his well-educated financially successful brother. Then as time passes how do you just spring it into a conversation? He knows he’s in trouble and needs to say something but doesn’t know how.
Amelia tries to salvage her relationship by spending Thanksgiving and her birthday with her fiancé. However he ends up going in to work and spends over ten hours in the office. Amelia breaks up with him after he confesses he got, after pursuing it, a promotion at his current job. She realizes he had no intention of moving to Binghamton to be with her and her father. Even though he knew that was incredibly important to her. Amelia immediately leaves and returns to Binghamton. Aaron happens to be sitting on his porch when Amelia arrives. Without asking any questions he takes her to get a birthday sundae. He confesses that he’s done this by himself every year since they broke up. He has a few other spontaneous surprises that makes her birthday amazing.
Amelia decides she wants to try to have a relationship with Aaron. Although her fiancé continues to text and call her trying to reconcile. Everything is going well until Amelia’s fiancé shows up unexpectedly.
“The Other Brother” is sweet, beautiful, fun, and passionate. There is an indescribable Sweetness to Aaron that is marvelous. Amelia is fierce, funny, and forceful. She arrives in the story hurt by Aaron then her pain is eased and the love she’s buried resurrects itself. Amelia has to deal with a lot of confusing emotions as well as a parent suffering with dementia. Meghan Quinn does a superb job with “The Other Brother”. There is a wealth of emotion: love, anger, sorrow, happiness, and pain. The reader is treated to a wealth of fabulous secondary characters. Amelia’s best friend and her father, when “with it” is wonderful. “The Other Brother” is definitely Highly Recommended!
I’m giving “The Other Brother” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.
This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.