ATTENTION: Though I put some quotes in spoiler tags this review still contains minor(?) spoilers within the text
And they lived happily ever after
We've all been there . No matter how old or young you are we all have watched Disney movies and read fairy tales at some point in our lives where a prince and a princess get their happy ending. I'm pretty sure that all of us, some longer some not so long , believed that that's how love , true love, should look like . "What About Everything" takes us one a ride , no pardon me , it takes us on a cruise where we can play mice , or in this case maybe I should rather say Jac and Gus, and watch how our two MC's Tyler and Matt, that we already met in the book series The Tales Of Foster High, and that got their own book "Taking Chances", find out how to project a HEA or HFN into the real world ;)
"What About Everything" starts with two guys in a relationship . One's pretty content in it (meet Tyler Parker) and the other one, Matt, feels kinda stuck within the relationship and himself
“When my dad was my age he was married, had three kids, a house and a life. By my age he had already served in the military, figured out what he wanted in life and got it. Here I am, a nowhere job, dating a guy when I should be settled down by now, I'm too old to be a loser like this and it's just pissing me off.”
You see we all have a plan at least in some way or form in our heads what we want from life and when we don't get there in a certain mount of time or maybe we don't get there at all we start to feel depressed about it. So Matt asks 'God' the one million question, and it's a good thing that she happens to lives in Foster ;) “Is it wrong to want more?” “That's not what you wanted to ask.” she (Gayle) said with a Buddha smile. I waited, knowing she would correct me.
“What you meant to ask was is it wrong of you to want more from Tyler? And that question you need to ask yourself and then, for fun, you might ask him.”
Meanwhile Tyler's sensing that something isn't right and tries to cheer Matt up. Let's just say that we can be happy if by the end of the first act Matt's still alive
John Goode's sense of humor is so incredibly real and relatable because a lot of scenes will make you laugh because maybe you've been there yourself and experienced similar moments with friends and family in some way or another. He doesn't write forced comedy but tells life how it is and sometimes even the sad moments can be funny or at least we need humor to get through them
One big problem Tyler and Matt have is, instead of sitting down with each other and talk about what's on their minds, they act around it and the first part of this movie , I mean book ( sorry but I just see Goode's books like movies , try it while reading and you will thank me later ) doesn't end with them riding off into the sunset but with a scratch on the their former pristine looking 'red door'.
After his big, BIG fauxpas at Matt's parents wedding renewal (thank you very much John ! Not the author btw but Matt's brother) Tyler decides, thanks to the little advice of his personal gay moody but still good hearted fairy god mother Robbie, to take Matt on a gay Disney cruise . Yes you have heard right ! A Disney themed cruise ! So they we can be sure they get their happy ending after all right ? Or is it too good to be true ? We shall see
One thing is sure though sometimes a simple 'I love you' isn't enough and doesn't fix problems
"I love you too Tyler, but those three words don't change things. They don't solve problems, they're just words without actions, without different actions and we have been dong the same thing for almost two years now. I need something more Tyler.”
So please pack your bags, put on your big hats ( though you will never outstage Robbie when it comes to wearing big hats ;) ) and sunglasses and let Captain Goode take you on a wonderful cruise filled with all things Disney combined with great technology that will make you wish you could be there with Tyler, Matt and their friends Robbie and Matt.
The Disney cruise was exactly what Tyler and Matt needed . An awesome one time experience where they get to know each other more. They start being more affectionate with each other and sex becomes love making . Of course it can't stay that way forever because if there is one thing we have learned in life and in Disney movies ( yes for once they haven't lied to us) is that life's not always sunshine and rainbows even if you are on the mothership of sunshine and rainbows. Problems arise on the horizon in the form of villain. Meet Sophia, Matt's former best friend who has never been keen on Tyler. To a certain extent she gets into Tyler's head and he does some typical Tyler Parkerthings in the heat of the moment if you know what I mean ;). Soon you will learn though that not everyone is 100% good or bad. We are not in a fairy tale after all and John Goode makes sure to show us that even when you think someone is pure evil, if you try, you might be able to look behind the curtain and see the different layers and reason why a person became who they are today
One big problem both Tyler and Matt have to learn to deal with is how to cope with fear and eventually how to conquer fear.
Especially Tyler has to learn that not everything is about him and Robbie puts it perfectly by saying
"Or he forgets the world isn't made up of shades of Tyler. Tyler's guilt, Tyler's shame, Tyler's mistakes...I am not saying he thinks he is better than everyone else I am saying he thinks he is the worst person alive and he gets caught in that emotional black hole that's his ego."
On this journey Tyler learns to face his demons and fears and that he has finally hake responsibility for his actions. He understands that he has to stop running away from himself and Matt "Tyler was one of those people the more you pushed the more he ran" . Tyler will finally understand that it's okay who he is and that he doesn't have to be perfect in order for Matt to love him.
He deserves to be happy, he deserves to have everything he dreamed about ever since he was a young boy and that he started to hide and repress once he realized that he was gay. That's where fear started to hound him
Once he understands that he isn't the asshole , the monster he always feared he is, he and Matt can finally move forward and what happens next is just beautiful. Btw he may or may not have needed a little push in the right defection by his, and I can't believe I'm saying this and at the same time it shows the progress in these books, FRIEND Robbie
Tyler and Matt came a long way and Goode makes sure to give us a full circle to the first book and back to now and we can see the entire progress and growth in Tyler in one little passage
“What if it doesn't work out?” he asked. I remember this question, it was the one he asked when he first got together over Christmas break. I jokingly had answered with. “One of us moves.” but now I realize, that was the wrong answer. “Then we make it work.” I said earnestly . He touched the ring and I could see the tears in his eyes. “So...what's it going to be?” I asked. He opened his mouth to answer and everything changed."
On that note let me talk about my three favorite scenes in the book .
[spoiler]We are on a Disney cruise after all so needless to say one of them it on it . The big Ball on the ship and Tyler and Matt dancing to the song of the beauty and the beast was a perfect moment John Goode created for us . The romance fan in you will eat this scene up with big spoons ! I was so happy for both of them in this very moment and thanks to the authors ability to draw the reader into the story, I felt like I was watching them dance . I perfect couple , a perfect dance , a perfect night , just a perfect moment .
My second favorite is the scene where Robbie shares a story with Tyler about his dead Boyfriend Riley. Chapeau to John Goode to never let us forget the characters who are no longer with us. They are always a part of his books in some way or another. I like this very much cause like in real life sometimes something random happens and we are reminded of our loved ones that passed away and it makes us cry or laugh.[/spoiler]
My last favorite scene was the ending :) and we have a cameo of somebody we, as Foster fans, all know and love
[spoiler]the boy who started the entire series ! [/spoiler]
I highly recommend to read Taking Chances if you haven't already to know who Matt and Tyler are and if you can't get enough of them read The Tales From Foster High cuz they appear in every book of this series