Title: Perfect for Me by D.H. Starr
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance
Length: 81,000 words
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Sean Sullivan is a principal and a happy person, but he has one major complication.HIV. Frustrated with constant rejection, Sean decides to stop dating negative men. When a student experiences a crisis and Sean meets Emery Benton, the case worker assigned from Child Protective Services, his decision is challenged.
Sparks fly the moment they meet, but Emery is negative and Sean doesn’t want the pain of another disappointment. As he struggles with his feelings for Emery, a war between the fear in his head and the fire in his heart force him to answer one simple question. Is this the perfect man for me?
Have you ever read a book that you keep saying, “One more chapter, and I’ll cook dinner?” or “One more chapter, and I’ll go to bed.”? And dinner is late and you stay up way past your bedtime because one more chapter turns into finishing the book? Well, D.H. Starr’s Perfect for Me is that type of book. A compelling and unique plot coupled with wonderful characters who capture your heart make this book impossible to put down and leave you wanting just a little more time with our lead protagonists.
In spite of the seriousness of the topics in Perfect for Me, this story is not at all depressing. It is quite hopeful as Mr. Starr dispels some of the myths surrounding an HIV positive diagnosis. With proper medication, safe sex and living a healthy lifestyle, HIV is not a death sentence. For Sean Sullivan, the biggest impact his diagnosis has is on his love life. Always upfront with his potential lovers, his HIV status has ended many relationships before they have had the chance to begun. Sean then decides it would be simpler to date only other HIV positive men, but that decision is immediately challenged when he meets social worker Emery Benton.
Despite the many undeniable reasons why Sean and Emery should not date, their sizzling sexual attraction is too strong to ignore. Sean has the most to lose if their relationship does not work out and he quickly puts the brakes on their romance. But Emery has an endless supply of patience and understanding, and they continue to date and get to know one another. But when Sean encounters an unexpected setback, he ends their relationship. But the situation with Lamar keeps pulling the men together and Emery refuses to give up on Sean.
The other story arc in Perfect for Me dealing with Lamar and his dysfunctional and abusive family life is heartbreakingly realistic. Lamar’s love for and loyalty to his mother leads him to make the wrong decision again and again. Yet neither Sean nor Emery is willing to give up on providing him the opportunity for a better future.
If we lived in a perfect world, the children who need the intervention of Child Protective Services would have champions like the characters in Perfect for Me. Emery works tirelessly in his role as a case worker and he remains refreshingly unjaded by the harsh realities of his job. Sean is the type of principal every student should be lucky enough to have. One who sees the promise in a young man’s future despite the fact that Lamar’s home life is less than ideal. And every child who ends up in foster care should have someone as caring and devoted as Sonya Johnson.
I was emotionally invested in all of the characters and storylines in Perfect for Me. None of the various story arcs overpower the novel. Instead each provides depth to the characters and enriches the overall plot. D.H. Starr deftly handles the difficult topic of HIV with sensitivity and he gently educates the reader in a matter of fact manner.
A captivating story that should be on everyone’s reading list.