I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by MLR Press, MLR Press, LLC on 2013-02-01
Genres: Contemporary, Gay
Reviewed by Cassie
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?
Sean Sullivan loves his job as a principal at a middle school. He has a good life, overall. The only thing that keeps his life from being perfect is that he doesn’t have someone to love. Unfortunately, any time Sean tells a man he’s HIV positive, the guy bolts. Sean’s determined to start dating only other positive men so he can avoid further hurt. Then one of his favorite students begins experiencing severe family issues, and Emery Benton comes to help.
As a social worker, Emery’s job is to help protect kids from abuse and neglect. He comes to the school to help figure out how to best help a young man in crisis. He doesn’t expect the immediate attraction he feels toward Sean. Emery wants to date Sean, despite their working relationship, but Sean blows hot and cold. Will Emery stick around when he finds out Sean’s secret—or will Sean push him away before they can find out?
Perfect for Me features an issue that could cause a great deal of heartbreak and trauma in someone’s life: HIV. While the disease can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes, it’s still a ticking time bomb. I understood Sean’s fear that his disease could prevent him from ever having love. He fights his attraction to Emery because he can’t bear to be disappointed again. Then, after he tells Emery his secret, he continues to fight their attraction. Emery isn’t the type of man to let HIV make him see Sean differently. He’s determined to have real love in his life, and he thinks Sean is the one.
I liked Perfect for Me’s realistic conflict and the fact that it centered around a school. I wasn’t so crazy about how wishy-washy Sean came across as. It’s understandable that he would be wary about trusting a negative guy not to freak out about his status, and that he would have reservations even when Emery did not. I just wished he would make up his mind. He kept pulling Emery closer and then pushing him away. For some reason Emery forgave him every time, pretty much instantly. I started to tire of the push-me, pull-you routine after a while, and I couldn’t believe Emery put up with it. While I enjoyed Perfect for Me on the whole, Sean’s behavior frustrated me enough to make the whole story a bit less than I’d hoped it would be.