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REVIEW: “Names Can Never Hurt Me” by Wade Kelly



What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?

Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care.

When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “Scruffy Dude.” He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head.

Because of peer-pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.


This is my first book by Wade Kelly, and it’s safe to say that I really enjoyed what she’s done with this story.

Words Can Never Hurt Me is sincere, funny, sweet, hot, and has some features that I really wasn’t expecting…. Like RC, the object of Nick’s attention, then desire and then love.  I adored the things Nick liked about RC and the way RC grounded him.  He also demanded respect and patience, two things I can’t recall reading about recently.  I also loved watching Nick break down his walls and take risks while showing his true self to RC which was a great slow journey.  These things, the little details that create fuller, more fleshed out characters are what makes me sit up and take notice of an author.

Another great thing here is that there’s lots of discussion about labels.  Nick’s journey is one about self discovery and understanding, and ya know, you’ve really gotta love a character that makes you think.

“I just don’t get why I have to define myself.  Gay, not gay.  I don’t understand labels.  Why can’t I simply  work out how I feel without a specific classification?”


M-L sighed sympathetically.  “Labels and names are what we get, baby.  Straight people are the only ones who get to walk around unfettered.”

I could have done without constantly hearing how physically hot Nick is, and how aware of that fact he was. I understood it after the first explanation, and certainly didn’t need to keep reading about it all the way through the 340 pagses.  That message, the one where appearance doesn’t matter much, is an important lesson that Nick had to learn, but the self love from start was a little too thick for my liking.  Also the drama towards the end of the story felt unnecessary to me and I don’t think the story gained much from it.  And perhaps it was a little too long, because it felt drawn out  – someone call the editor!  But, oh well, that’s just my opinion and others may like joy ride more than I did.

It should be pointed out there is content describing sexual abuse.  I suggest that anyone who would find that topic a trigger, should consider this before reading it.

All in all, Words Can Never Hurt Me is a great story with loveable characters that grew as the story progressed.  There were some really touching scenes and a few hilarious LOL moments.

Also, this book contains the awesome words “cockamamie” and “Darn tootin'”.  Bless. ;)

Much enjoyed.



22707746Title:  Names Can Never Hurt Me (Book #1, Self Esteem Series)
Author:  Wade Kelly
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Pages:  340
Release Date:   August 11th, 2014
Purchase Links:  Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.

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This entry was posted on August 18, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Sue, YA / NA and tagged , , , .

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