REVIEW: Finding Your Feet (Toronto Connections #2) by Cass Lennox
A Toronto Connections Novel
While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though — he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.
Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.
Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.
THERE IS ONE PLOT SPOILER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE REVIEW IT ANNOYED ME SO I NEEDED TO TALK ABOUT IT.
Dear Cass Lennox,
I reviewed the first book in this series here at DA and I really liked it. As the blurb tells you, the second book features a completely new couple – a straight transgender man and an asexual woman, and the woman is not completely straight since she dated both men and women before this story begins. Evie has come to Toronto because she is entering a graduate program there, but the program starts in the fall and she ends up having a two-week vacation in the city, staying with her Internet friend Sarah who is also asexual.
Evie is the kind of person who plans things ahead, so she is surprised that not only is she on a spontaneous holiday, but she also auditioned and won a part to be in the Pride dance competition. As an amateur, she will be paired with a dance teacher from one of two rival queer dance studios. The idea is that three teachers from each dance school will be paired with three amateurs, and the teachers will teach the amateurs a dance routine in a week and and then compete during Toronto’s Pride Week. Since Pride Week is a major reason why Evie arrived early, she decides to participate in the competition even though she was initially reluctant.
Tyler is the dancing teacher paired with Evie. We are shown that Tyler was also initially reluctant to participate in the competition, but he changed his mind after a little push from his boss Derek. Evie and Tyler’s first meeting is a little bit contentious, but they click pretty well when they start rehearsing the dance, and they have to spend a lot of time together since they only have one week of rehearsals.
I read the Amazon reviews before buying this book and one of the reviewers seemed to feel that a lot of time was spent describing the rehearsals and on the dancing in general. I agree that there was a lot of dancing in this book, but I liked it very much. The start of Evie and Tyler’s relationship is set against their dancing training and dancing is what Tyler loves and is passionate about. It is not just his career, it is his life. I really thought it was cleverly done how they communicated while dancing and it was clear that they enjoyed each other’s company even though they may not have realized it themselves yet.
I thought the tension between Evie and Tyler was nicely done too – Tyler’s insecurities made perfect sense to me because his ex fucked with his head and made him doubt himself at every turn, but somehow I did not find the book very angsty, probably because dancing was such an important part of his life. No matter what Tyler’s doubts were about pursuing the relationship, he never thought about stopping the dancing. I really liked how Tyler’s issues were portrayed and how he dealt with them. And Evie had her own issues to deal with. Not all of her past partners were accepting of her asexuality (sex is not very important to Evie, but she did not mind sex with the right person). Mostly the romance was developed through Evie and Tyler’s rehearsals, and their issues felt very real but not angsty. Opinions may differ of course.
There were a couple of things in the story I did not like. While in general Tyler’s insecurities made perfect sense to me (as an outsider! I never was in an abusive relationship), there was also a smaller reason why he was reluctant to think about something more than a casual relationship with Evie, and I found this issue incredibly annoying. This counts as a SPOILER.
When they first meet during Evie’s audition she mentions in her interview that she is only in Toronto for a couple of weeks on this trip. She’ll then leave for few months but will come back when it is time to start school. Tyler is conveniently spacing out at the very moment Evie says that she will come back to go to school, and then he worries about starting something with Evie because she is going to leave anyway. I *hate* when something so artificial is used as the reason for the conflict. Now, as I said, this was not the main issue, this was just a fake barrier that Tyler put in his mind. The real reasons were his insecurities arising from the past abusive relationship, so overall it worked out for me, but I was still annoyed. I wanted to tell Tyler to just ask Evie about her leaving. Just ask her – so easily done.
I also thought that the brief appearance of Vaughn from the first book was awkwardly done. I mean, he is part of the group of asexual friends, so his cameo in itself would not have been bad, but the attempt to make Tyler jealous was also based on miscommunication. Evie learned that Vaughn was exclusively attracted to men almost right away, so why she could not have shared that with Tyler was not clear to me at all.
These miscommunications issues were not my favorite parts, but overall I still really liked the book and the main characters.
Time-wise, the book only covers a week. Nevertheless, the author managed to convince me that these two have a good chance to make their relationship work.