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A Tiny Piece of Something Greater

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Member Reviews

I liked this book for personal enjoyment. It just doesn't fit in a middle school collection. More of an adult romance/summer fling book.
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This was an entertaining read. I liked the writing style and I enjoyed both the characters and the plot.
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There can't be many books which are thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting in which one of the main characters is recovering from mental issues; this is one of those books and was a great read.

The lead characters Reid and Joaquim, were both well drawn, flaws and all, and by the end of the story you loved them both - warts, problems, issues and all.

This was a very enjoyable read, set against a serious background, one which some of us have no experience of, while others deal with it every day.

I would love to read a sequel, and discover where Reid and Joaquim journey takes them.

I was given a copy f this story by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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*~~*ARC kindly provided to me for an honest review *~~*

- Review to come

Review originally posted on my blog with added content on Mikku-chan / A world full of words
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Beautiful, heartbreaking, romantic, and most importantly, honest. This novel is an unflinching look at life with mental illness. At times hard to read, but it is oh so important. Our collective silence as a society towards addressing mental illness is more harmful than we can fathom. Shame and guilt are the antagonists. Reid's story is one that we can learn from, to see what happens when we lean into what we don't know. It could very well save someone's life.

You are still here. We are still here. And that is a beautiful thing.
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Ce livre me tentait beaucoup à la base. Seulement, j'ai eu du mal avec ce livre dès les premières lignes. Je ne sais pas si cela est du au style d'écriture, ou bien à mon niveau d'anglais insuffisant car au début je ne comprenais pas qui faisait quoi... 

Puis j'ai fini par m'y faire plus ou moins mais le truc c'est que je ne m'attachais absolument pas aux personnages principaux. Il n'y avait aucune alchimie entre Reid et Joaquim pour moi... donc difficile de poursuivre ma lecture. Je n'arrivais vraiment pas à rentrer dedans, j'étais en retrait et j'ai du abandonner (à environ 34%) après 2 ou 3 tentatives de reprises.

C'est vraiment dommage car j'aurais aimé suivre l'évolution de Reid concernant sa pathologie...
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A book that includes mental illness among its subject has always been one that has my utter attention. Unfortunately this one didn't quite make me fall in love with it, but I was very pleased with the way the subject was addressed, being not only an accurate portrayal but also keeping the romance I was looking for without creating false expectations.

When Reid signed up to a diving class, he wasn't expecting to fall in love with his dive instructor, but the chemistry between him and Joaquim makes the relationship evolve quickly. Reid's multiples secrets and his struggles with mental illness makes it hard for Joaquim to understand him and being able to give him what he needs, but the feelings they got for each other makes the challenge worth it as they try to make this new love work.

There were a lot of things that I liked about the book. The writing was good, I really enjoyed the dual point of view. I loved trying to understand what they think and feel. I also liked the way mental illness was portrayed. I think it was very illustrative and I liked that it included not only what others see but also what Reid was feeling at certain moments. I guess that's what I liked the most about the book.

Sadly, there were more things that I didn't like about it. I found it very hard to get myself into the story, I lost interest so many times. It was really slowed paced which seem appropriate for the story but made it harder to read. I couldn't quite love the characters as much as I expect to. They had some nice scenes together but I didn't find it as romantic as I hoped. I also thought there were some inconclusive subjects in the story, I was left with more questions than answers about Felix and I didn't quite feel I really got to know Reid that well.

About Reid, I guess it was fine not getting to know him that well, I get that even he is struggling with that. I loved that Joaquim struggled too, he wasn't perfect and that's great. He was trying and was very supportive without giving up everything he was for Reid, but being there for him. I loved that the book didn't try to give the false expectation that love will conquer illness. The illness was a part of Reid and it was going to be always a part of his life without it limiting his ability to find love.

Overall it was okay. I wasn't able to like it that much but others may enjoy it. I would definitely recommend it to understand mental illness better.
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I was really excited for this book, but nothing about it blew me away. The characters, plot, and writing didn't amaze me, and I just didn't care about much that happened in this book. I also wanted a more concrete ending, but I understand the purpose of it's vagueness in the context of the story.
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Jude Sierra is an amazing wordsmith, and her latest novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater, is another fantastic example of her talent. It always takes me a moment to get past her third person present narrative choice, but once I’m in the groove, I find it so easy to get lost in her words. Her style is soothing somehow—I know, that sounds weird, but it’s true!—and her prose is so richly descriptive; I got so sucked into the story and Reid’s journey that I honestly didn’t want to put this book down.

As with Idlewild (one of my favorite books of 2016), A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is largely character driven, and, as such, is heavily focused on the two MCs, though a bit heavier on Reid. It is his journey that we’re on, after all, so a lot of time is spent getting to know him, and what it’s like living with mental illness. Reid has cyclothymia, a mood disorder that causes him to have sometimes very rapid mood swings. Emotional highs and lows that can sometimes cycle so fast that it’s impossible to function properly. He describes it at one point as “a milder form of bipolar.” There are a lot of details in the book about Reid’s condition and what it’s like on a day-to-day basis, but those details allow us to really be in Reid’s headspace, and to get a true picture of what it means to be cyclothymic.

When the story opens, Reid, desperately in need of a fresh start, is on his way to the Florida Keys to stay at his grandma’s condo in Key Largo. Reid needs a break—from his parents, his hometown, and his ex—and spending some time away from everything, to focus on his recovery, seems like the perfect next step. He enrolls in a scuba diving class to stave off boredom, and, as luck would have it, the instructor ends up being charming, laid-back, and irresistible. Joaquim, the irresistible scuba instructor with a weakness for cute boys, never stood a chance when he met Reid, whose description in the book had me swooning a little bit, too!

These guys made me smile SO much, which was awesome and somewhat unexpected, because this book was…hard, at times. It was difficult to read about how much pain Reid was in, and the weight of what that meant for him and Joaquim. Reid has things he doesn’t want to disclose to Joaquim, because he doesn’t want to color the way Joaquim sees him. He wants to hang on to this thing they’ve started, without his mental illness taking center stage, which it inevitably will. But, thankfully Joaquim’s calm nature is like a balm for Reid’s jittery edges, making it a bit easier when Reid does open up to him about everything. And, I love how open, and just real Joaquim is about the things Reid shares with him. If he doesn’t understand, he says that. If he has questions, he tells Reid. But, he always let Reid share at his own pace. I’ve never been in Reid’s shoes but I have been in Joaquim’s, and Sierra did a great job of showing that helplessness that someone who’s trying to be in a support position can feel.

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater isn’t just about Reid’s mental illness, however. At it’s core, it’s a love story. I love how the author put it in her author’s note at the end of the book:

“This story isn’t just about [Reid’s] wellness journey; it is about a boy on an adventure, a boy coming into his own and falling in love.”

That love story was my favorite thing about the book. The romance between these two is so pure. That sounds cliché or something…but, it really is just so honest and pure. They were insanely sexy together, and Sierra is so perfect at showing their intimacy and how connected they were. I swooned so hard over these two.

I’m gonna leave it there… Gorgeous cover (I couldn’t go without mentioning how stunning that cover is), gorgeous story. Interlude Press continues to put out high quality, outstanding books, and Jude Sierra continues to wow me with her words. This book is going to stay with me for a long time. Don’t miss this one, guys!
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4.5 stars for my first foray into a Jude Sierra novel. 
My first Jude Sierra book and I am so disappointed in myself! I have had her other books on my TBR and hadn't made time for them...and now I regret not having her words in my life before now.
Jude spins her words into a thing of beauty. She wrote this story that had this heaviness to it but was filled with hope. 
A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is a romantic story that had an abundance of heart and hope. I loved going along on the journey as Reid trusts himself and his decisions while Joaquim navigates falling in love for the first time. The beautiful writing really made this emotional journey an enjoyable read.
Every step forward Reid took in order to grasp hold of his future, I was sure he was going to find success. Joaquim was the most patient and loving person. He was just what Reid needed at this moment in time. I have high hopes for these two, I will always want them to succeed. 
We get a quiet HFN and it works for this book. And if this is how Jude Sierra tells a story, sign me up for all her releases because she has me.
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This is a book that is kind of difficult to review. I really liked the overall story and I thought Reid’s mental illness was handled well. There’s an author note that lets you know that what Reid suffers from is something the author has as well, so it’s #OwnVoices in that way and I love it. It’s great to get these perspectives from someone who personally understands, even if their or their character’s experiences differ from others. I really liked that Joaquim isn’t shown as the cure for Reid – he cares for him and he’s learning what he should and should not do or say when Reid is dealing with his mental illness, but he’s not able to make Reid better. He can just be there for him when Reid lets him, and most importantly, he can listen to what Reid wants and needs, while at the same time knowing that it might not be best for Reid, so it’s okay to push when warranted. I think one of the small “issues” that I had with the book is that it felt like it ended in a really wobbly way. Wobbly probably isn’t the right word, but I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s a good book, but I guess the ending wasn’t my favorite. All in all though, it’s an interesting look at a relationship forming under the “cloud” of mental illness, and how mental illness doesn’t make you any less worthy of love.
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This was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for! A healthy and sexy M/M romance that's never too smutty and never fetishized, with important ownvoices mental illness representation.

Reid and Joaquim come from different backgrounds. Most of the novel focuses on them learning to know each other and especially learning how to be together. Reid has cyclothymia and while Joaquim learns to be with him and be respectful of him when he’s cycling and needs space, Reid also needs to learn to let go of some of the behavior and negative expectations he’s still carrying from a past unhealthy relationship.

I think this is an important book because of the mental illness representation and how openly it’s talked about. It’s also definitely not a “love fixes mental illness” novel, far from it in fact, and I wish more novels were this honest when it comes to building healthy relationships not in spite of but alongside a mental illness.

Rep: Brazilian gay MC, cyclothymic gay MC, M/M relationship

TW (taken from the publisher’s website):
• Discussion of mental illness, therapy and recovery
• A portrayal of a cyclothymic character who experiences rapid mood cycles and anxiety
• Non-graphic discussion of past self-harm and off-page relapse
• Non-graphic reference of a past suicide attempt
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This book broke my heart again and again, and also gave me hope again and again. As someone who deals with something relatively similar (to be honest, I don’t know my exact diagnosis but I could recognise and identify with so much of Reid’s feelings), it was like a balm I suppose?

The book deals with Reid’s life and recovery from some quite rare-to-discuss, and rarely well-written ‘problems’. As it is explained in the author’s note at the end, it was an #ownvoice when it came to this part – Sierra is also living with the condition.

But OH! The book was and is one of my favourites, despite the ending not being really HEA, and more HFN, with not much guarantee for the future. But I loved Joaquim’s character so much! He is patient, understanding, and does not leave just because. I had friends who have stopped being my friends after my first diagnosis of depression and it hurts, still. So it was incredibly nice to see someone, even a fictional character, being there, accepting the ups and downs, trying to understand Reid and support him.

Reid has gone away from home to his grandmother’s condo, to go away from parents, from his ex-boyfriend who doesn’t want to be an ex, and generally because he needed to feel different, or rather, to NOT feel so different. Being an only person with mental illness in a family can be very isolating and there’s always the feeling of wrongness when people know all about it. Your words are taken differently, as are your actions.

And Reid found acceptance, and kind of normality, even though his mental illness is and will never be gone. There is improvement, there are good days, but there are inevitably also bad days.

The book does show mental illness really well, but this is not ALL Reid is. It is just part of Reid, as it is only a part of me. There are other qualities, other traits we have that are more important, and yet sometimes people cannot see beyond one thing. It is also not love-cures-mental-illness kind of book for which I am very grateful.

The writing is in that different way that Sierra does in Idlewild as well. The words take you to the place, to dive, to relationship between Reid and Joaquim. To be honest, this is only the second book by the author that I have read, but both books had dragged me in so much I could not put them down.

I know it is said that Reid is not his illness, and the book certainly isn’t just about it. And I know that is the part my review focuses on most but it is for a simple reason. I could see myself in it, in Reid and I will always be grateful for that as it is probably the first book I saw myself in so much. It is also a book I recommended to my best friends – they keep trying to understand me, but not being as good a writer as Sierra, this book can show them a lot.

Sierra made me laugh, made me cry, and gave me hope. There are quotes in the book I want to put on posters for my room, and the author’s note is also so amazing. I am so glad I have read this book, or even that I had the chance to read it as an ARC.

Sierra is an amazing author and I cannot wait to read more books written by her. And if you need a proof of how amazing this book was…I had to read it three times before I could articulate how much I love it and even now I am not sure I quite achieved my goal 🙂
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Reid is trying to start over. He packs up his car and heads to stay at his grandmother’s condo in Florida. He needs a break from his life and his family as his mental illness has consumed them for quite some time. Reid has never been on his own before, but he wants to move forward. To quell his restlessness, Reid signs up for scuba diving lessons and meets instructor Joaquim.

Joaquim is in Florida from Brazil and working hard at the dive shop. One look at Reid and he is interested and the feeling is mutual. One hookup isn’t enough and a relationship soon develops between them. But life with Reid can be challenging as they both try to navigate a relationship while making sure that Reid’s mental health stays on track.

I have read several books by Jude Sierra and her style remains consistent. This book offers a third-person narrative and the entire story is character driven and mostly driven by Reid. Reid hasn’t had an easy time. He was diagnosed as being cyclothymic, a mood disorder, and he’s really trying to get his life on track. He’s taking his meds and he’s going to therapy and he has carved out an online support system, but Reid still has setbacks. When he meets Joaquim and then gets to know him, he wants him in the worst way. But Reid is so happy that he can just be Reid in his new location and not Reid with the mental health issues.

The book takes us pretty deep into Reid’s mind and he has a strong character. For where he is in life, his mental health issues take over every aspect. And, as he begins a relationship with Joaquim, it raises questions about if he is truly ready for a relationship. It’s difficult for him to be open with Joaquim and tell him all about his issues, which include cutting. So, for a good portion of the time, Joaquim is left in the dark trying to figure out just what is going on with Reid as Reid moves from one mood cycle to the next. But, when things are good, Joaquim grounds Reid and the guys are sweet and soft and kind to each other. Sierra’s prose is lyrical and descriptive, and it read like a balm to Reid’s soul when he was in an even place with Joaquim.

Joaquim pulls Reid’s lower lip between his carefully, then kisses him in the same way, then again, like raindrops and promises.

Reid’s moods are the focus of the book and the story is really about how he can manage them and move forward to have a life. A life that he can adjust to on his own and then a life with Joaquim, but Reid struggles and being in a relationship with Reid involves learning how to navigate him. While Joaquim wants to be with Reid, Reid’s illness put his needs and his moods in sharper focus and Joaquim would have to adjust to being second a lot of the time. This is the nature of Reid’s illness, but also the reality of being involved with Reid. But, the guys truly want to be together and are better when they are together.

There were a few areas that seemed to drop off for me, as I did wonder where Reid’s grandmother was and if there was a plan for her to return. Reid’s ex, Felix, also makes an appearance, but his storyline felt dropped by the end as compared to how attention was called to him throughout the book. I will call their ending a HFN as the guys are young and are in love for the first time and nothing is quite settled between them at the end other than that they want to be together. I would certainly read a follow up to see how they were doing should one become available. Sierra does a good job of making Reid’s illness front and center, although for where he was currently in his life, there wasn’t time to explore much else about him. A Tiny Piece of Something Greater would be a good choice to dive into a story of a younger man living with mental illness, but also trying to just live.
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I admit, a certain someone over at From Top To Bottom Reviews had me really (and I mean REALLY) hyped for this book.

What can I say? Annie does rec the best books.

So why do I love A Tiny Piece of Something Greater? It is rather difficult to explain without spoilering, but I'll manage:

   *  the title. I love its ambiguousness
    * content warnings. Fuck yeah!
    * the realness of its portrayal of mental illness
       * and to me it's not even triggering
        * People with BPD are not portrayed as the most-deserving-to-die-humans-there'll-ever-be. FUCK YEAH!

Let's take a better look at the last bullet point, shall we?

I'm pretty sure you've gathered that I'm mentally ill and if you've read reviews of mine about books that feature mentally ill characters you know how important this portrayal is to me and how often it's done horribly wrong. I wasn't afraid of this here because it's #ownvoices.

But I not only got a not ableist book, I got a wonderful book that's full of pain and memories and all the little things that you may live with if you've got certain mental illnesses. But most of all I got hope.

This is not a story about a mentally ill character, this is a story with a mentally ill character and I like this approach way better than the first option.

I may enjoy a different thing even more though: Joaquim isn't a means for Reid to heal. There is no magic-love-cure. Instead Joaquim is a person of his own, with his own thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams.

So why am I rating it 4.5 instead of 5 stars? The reason is rather small and it may have to do a little bit with the book's formatting. There are at times very unexpected jumps that left me sort of confused until I found into the new scene. And sometimes the story felt somewhat rushed for me. This ties perfectly to my last words, because more (in-detail?) story means more to read. Now I'm gonna go back to nursing my book hangover because I really don't want A Tiny Piece of Something Greater to end.

Last Words: No really, why did it have to end?
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3.5 stars 
Reid escapes his family's home and the overbearing attitude of his relatives by staying at his grandmother's condo in Florida where he meets Joaquim. There's an instant attraction between these two young twenty-year-olds but things are a bit complicated for Reid and his new relationship with Joaquim.

It's clear from the start that Reid has a mental illness. I thought his reasons for for escaping to his grandmother's condo so he can learn how to live with himself and this illness. Support hasn't exactly been there for him in the past, with a passive-aggressive ex (who happens to make an appearance) and some other behaviors that leave him at-risk.

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is really Reid's journey with his illness and how it affects those around him, especially Joaquim. It takes Reid a lot of courage and some time to let Joaquim know the details, and it isn't easy always for Joaquim to understand everything that's going on with Reid. But these two young men really want to make it work. This is a "first-love" sort of relationship, and it's not an easy one. I did like that about the story.

I have to admit, I fell in love with the title of this book.  It spoke to me. I'm not a fan of present tense writing so I struggled with this title a bit.The voice of the writing just made me really work hard and that took away from the very interesting but difficult subject matter. If you are looking for some fluffy mm romance, this is not it. But if you are looking for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking treatment of mental illness and relationships, this might be what you are looking for. Overall, I liked the premise of the story, it was the technical aspects of the writing that didn't quite work for me. Your mileage may vary as they say, and this is my first Jude Sierra title. It did leave me wanting to read more from this author. 

An ARC was provided for review.
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The first thing that attracted me to this book was obviously the cover, which is made by CB Messer. Did you see how amazing it is? Let's go stare at it together for a bit more, shall we? Another thing that deserves mentioning is the title. When you reach the point in the book where the characters use that phrase you'll fall a little bit in love with it yourselves.

So, after all this praise why only 2 stars? Well, that has to do with me and my inability to get into the story and connect with the plot. There was nothing wrong with the writing style, the plot or the characters, it's just that me and this particular story didn't mess well. The truth is that for some reason we didn't get along right from the start. There were interesting parts that I read enthusiastically, but most of the time I read along totally removed from what was happening on the page. The plot was mostly Reid's journey, his stuggle to balance his mental illness with his everyday life and his hopes for the future.

"A Tiny Piece of Something Greater" is a very personal story for the author, as we learn from her note at the end, and sometimes it read that way too. There are a lot of details about the mental illness - cyclothymia - that Reid lives with and a lot of information about it. Reid's mental health is and always will be a work in progress. He has to dedicate hours in therapy and developing skills to help him understand his moods and manage them as best as possible. It's a constant battle that shifts and changes and he should adjust accordingly and that's what we're left with from this story. It's all very realistic and read very true and I appreciated that.

It may not end in a HEA but we get a nice epilogue with a very tentative HFN and a possibility for a future for the two of them. However, I don't really believe that Reid and Joaquim are going to make it together in the long run, but that's okay because Joaquim was an important stop in Reid's life, someone to help him believe in himself more, get a sense of what a healthy and happy relationship is like and someone to spend a nice summer with. I think that was all their relationship could be because their dreams, hopes and needs for the future didn't really align and that makes it difficult to imagine a future where they could be together.

*An ARC of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. *
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A Tiny Piece of Something Greater made me cry, laugh, cry some more and just generally cycle through ever single emotion!  Jude's writing is beautiful; it's so descriptive - I felt like I could just close my eyes and picture every scene / location whether it was the beach or a bedroom.  The mental health rep was so expertly written, occasionally difficult to read but only in the best way as it didn't attempt to shy away from or squash down the realities of living with a mental health illness and I really appreciated that.  Not only do we see Reid cope daily with this but the way Joaquim was written trying to help, learning and discussing things openly was truly refreshing - and such a healthy way to write about two people in a relationship!  The fact that the heavier topics were perfectly balanced against the absolute adorableness of the two boys just made this book even better.
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I’ve been having a hard time trying to come up with the words to talk about A Tiny Piece of Something Greater. While I don’t share Reid’s specific mental illness, there’s a lot about his behavior, his thoughts, and his attitude toward it that resonated with my own experience, and which forced me to confront aspects of myself and emotions I would rather not investigate too closely.
Reid leaves behind his family, his support system (therapist and therapy group), an ex-boyfriend with whom he has an unhealthy codependency, and the place he is supposed to call home because of how it made him feel too tight in his own skin. There, with the people who’ve known him for so long and who have witnessed all his “disasters,” he doesn’t feel like he is much more than his mental illness. He’s encumbered by what all those people know about him, by what they can’t seem to be able to see past. So, to try and free himself, he drives from Wisconsin to Florida where he meets Joaquim who, conversely, “young and unencumbered,” left his own home in search of adventure. Their relationship is immediately flirty; two young men in their early twenties who are instantly attracted to each other and who want to explore their budding feelings.  

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is part romance, part coming of age, part recovery story, and while Sierra writes with a light touch (but not lightheartedly, and with turns of phrase that emphasize her poetry roots), and avoids most of the common traps and pitfalls of similar narratives, she does take her time digging into the nasty bits of living with a mental illness—the medications, the therapy, the good days and the bad ones, the managing and the relapses; really, the prosaicness of it all—and loving someone who does. How exhausting, unfair, angering, and at times downright impossible it is to go through one’s daily life, to be around people, to open oneself up to new relationships.

Such a focus might alienate readers who have no experience of mental illness; it may seem as if Reid’s mental illness is all his characterization and personality amount to.

Reid is not his cyclothymia, but the reality of it is that a mental illness can, and does, feel all-encompassing; it touches every moment of one’s life, it makes every relationship harder to navigate; it sinks its teeth into a person, and even when one’s feeling “better” the marks of those teeth are still (always) there.

Read is much more than his mental illness, of course. But it is intrinsic to who he is. Initially he’s drawn to Joaquim’s calmness, to his kindness, to his newness; Reid too can be someone new around Joaquim, at least for a little while. It takes him a long time to reveal the secret layers of himself to Joaquim, because once all the sandpapery truth of him is out he will no longer be able to be someone new, someone unencumbered.

What I loved about all the quietly enormous moments of honesty is that Sierra—and this is a great example of why it matters when an author shares part of their characters’s identity—lets them transpire at Reid’s own pace. There’s no climactic event, nothing that happens to force Reid to tell Joaquim about himself. And Joaquim receives all Reid is willing to give him. He doesn’t understand it, not initially, never completely, but he wants to. If and when Reid will want him to.

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is not a horror or suspense novel, but at every bit of revealed truth I was clutching my e-reader as one would the armrests of a movie theater chair during a scary film. When Joaquim tells Reid that he wants to know, that he’s learning, Reid asks him, “But is this too one-sided for you? […] I’m always an issue.” (Joaquim will, of course, reply that he’s not, that no one knows “how to balance a teeter-totter right away. You gotta learn that shit.”)

I love and hate to see my own toxic, fearful thoughts in the pages of a book. There’s that single moment of dissonance; of hating the fact that other people know what it’s like, and yet selfishly being grateful that someone does, that I’m not the only one.

So though this novel is a bit one-sided, too—far from perfect, a bit too scattered in places, and with Joaquim a bit too lightly developed—it did give me that something I’m not very used to receive: the reminder that I, too, am not an issue.

Relationships are hard work, a constant, continuous balancing act regardless of one’s mental health, and with the full knowledge that a mental illness can’t be cured (we only ever get the hang of it; we cope), Reid and Joaquim’s relationship never stops feeling fragile. It’s a brittle, delicate thing.

But between them there is this openness, this generosity, a willingness to share and learn together, to hold on to one another and what they have, that their ending, if not a sure happily ever after, is a hopeful, tomorrow, too, let’s try our best with each other.
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3.5 stars

First of all, I need to highlight something important about this book. Reid Wastford, one of the main characters, has cyclothymic. It is a mental illness, which is described as "milder version" of bipolar. It's an important representation, an #ownvoice story based on the author's note at the end of this book. 

I have never heard about this illness before, and I think Jude Sierra does a good job of describing what Reid is going through. It is educative, realistic, and touching all at once. I enjoyed reading the therapy session scenes. 

Most important thing about this book that it shows how Reid's story is a JOURNEY. His disease doesn't magically cured because Reid falls in love. He still struggles with it trying to find a balance throughout.

I also found the setting of Key Largo to be a wonderful secondary character. I loved it when our young men swim or dive and it seemed to add the necessary calmness for our heroes to build their relationship.

Having said that, I wasn't completely satisfied with the romance. The thing is, I also thought that I didn't know a lot about Reid outside of his illness. Yes, sure, there were tidbits of information, like him being the only child, that his favorite book is Boy Meets Boy, that his favorite food is beef stroganoff that his mother makes, that his favorite color is blue 

... BUT most of Reid's side of this book sort of strongly tied into his mental illness. This includes how Reid reacts to his ex-boyfriend and how he decides whether he wants to pursue his newfound love with Joaquim with full honesty. 

On that note, Joaquim seems also to be a rather perfect fit for Reid. Oh, yes, of course there are moments that he doesn't know what to do to approach Reid when Reid is not in his better days. But other times, Joaquim seems to be rather (too) well-adjusted for someone like Reid. I guess I want to read about Joaquim making trials and errors too.

AND the ending is better described as HFN. My romantic heart wishes that it has sort of epilogue, or something a little bit of guarantee that Reid and Joaquim will be just fine.
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