…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
It’s not easy for a young gay artist like Jordan Carson to grow up in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where all anyone seems to care about in middle school and high school are the sports teams. But Jordan was lucky. He met Owen Nelson in the second grade, and they’ve been BFFs ever since. Owen is a big, beautiful blond and their school’s champion wrestler. No one messes with Owen, or with anyone close to him, and he bucks popular opinion by keeping Jordan as his wingman even after Jordan comes out at school.
Their friendship survives, but Jordan’s worst enemy may be himself: he can’t seem to help the fact that he is head-over-heels in love with a hopeless case—his straight friend, Owen. Owen won’t let anything take Jordan’s friendship away, but he never counted on Jordan running off to find a life of his own. Owen will have to face the nature of their relationship if he’s to win Jordan back.
I think somewhere along the line, I got the reputation for loving YA books. That’s not necessarily true. If you see the YA books I’ve read in the M/M category, you’ll notice it’s a love-hate relationship. That’s because the gay-geek-loves-closeted-jock storyline is, inherently, cheesy. So, the fine line is either to be annoyingly cheesy to the point of being inauthentic….or to write well enough, with characters strong enough, to surprise the reader and win them over.
And among the not-so-great ones, I’ve actually read quite a few winners. So as happily entertained and as warm as my heart felt by the end of the good ones, I can’t help but wanting to keep reading this tried-true-hit-or-miss trope to find the gems.
SUPERHERO IS A GEM.
Jordan (geek) and Owen (jock) have been best friends since 2nd grade. Their utter devotion to each other and their friendship throughout the years is, in and of itself, the fairy tale. They have great chemistry and Eli Easton writes them in such a way that they’re 2 well-adjusted kids with good families…but still seem REAL…like 2 teenaged boys I’d meet in real life…and that I’d like a lot.
Jordan is a sweetheart…but he’s not the victim gay geek. He’s strong-willed, knows what he wants, and he’s brave. I loved that about him. But the superhero, and the real JOY to read was Owen. Owen is who I’d want my future son to be like…or who I’d want my future daughter or son to date. He’s just a good kid…popular, focused, disciplined, seeps integrity from his pores. But again, what I can appreciate is that these two are not cheesy caricatures of young men…they feel authentic.
The best friends grow to have feelings for each other…which causes confusion for I-thought-I-was-straight-but-maybe-I’m-bi-or-maybe-I’m-Jordansexual Owen. I shared the feelings of care, desire, confusion, and hurt alongside both the MC’s and getting alternating POV’s worked for this story.
By the end, you’re not gonna get any surprises from this one. You rarely do with YA. But, I was smitten and entertained and my heart felt warm fuzzies.
Ami – 4 stars