Just Friend (Never Just Friends #1) by Saxon James | Book Review


Five years ago, I walked away from Sunbury, Oregon, and left my best friend behind.

The move was supposed to get my life on track. I even had a list.

Life changing epilepsy surgery. Check.

See the world. Check.

Get over my straight best friend … Not exactly.

No matter where I go or who I meet, I can’t let Tanner go.

I’m back to tell him how I feel. To get the closure I need once and for all.

Only now I’m here and falling for him all over again, it’s getting harder to say the words.

Because once I have my closure, I’ll be gone.

And this time it will be for good.


When my best friend, Roo, left for Australia, it was the worst day of my life.

I thought we’d have each other always.

But Roo needed the surgery so I let him go, thinking he’d come straight back.

Five years is a long time.

Now he’s here, all I want is to hold on tight.

I need to show him what he means to me.

The problem is, I’m not exactly sure what that is.

My draw to him has always been confusing and different—everyone in town says so. But I struggle to understand it.

All I know is I won’t survive him leaving again.

And I’ll do anything to make him stay.

How was it?

CU Hockey is the series that made me curious about Saxon James’ solo work since the name was familiar but besides the co-authored series above I hand ‘t read anything else.

The title alone is a massive hint at the trope at play here, friends to lovers. Tanner and Royce, aka Roo, became best friends when they met at 11. They were inseparable, always there for each other, Tanner helping Roo deal with his epilepsy and Roo making Tanner feel better about his…learning disability/dyslexia?

It’s one of the things I loved about this book, how truly supportive of each other these two were. It came across really well, it seemed like they had a real friendship at first, even if one of them had the hots for the other. The ups and downs of the five-year separation peppered throughout also rang very true to me, as did the somewhat awkward return to town with the old high school friends.

But when the relationship shifted from besties to lovers it didn’t feel as authentic as what came before. It kind of turned into your run-of-the-mill best friends to lovers, without the excessive angst but it came close a few times.

However, Just Friends remained sweet and adorable, maybe not something that I would eagerly re-read but I’d recommend it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Just Friends is available on The Book Depository and other book retailers near you.

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