Reviewed by Amber
TITLE: Off Campus
SERIES: Bend or Break #1
AUTHOR: Amy Jo Cousins
LENGTH: 317 pages
Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.
With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.
But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.
Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.
Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.
Amy Jo Cousins is a new author for me and I have to say I’m very pleased to have this story be my first. The way this story is told is pure magic. What an amazing author Amy Jo Cousins is. The plot was so full; she left out no detail, at all. In fact if I had one complaint it would be that this book was a tad too long. If there were maybe 100 words skimmed off I really do not think it would be to the detriment of this story.
The story itself is full of angst, love, hope, and incredible sweetness all the while being told by two people who are incredibly damaged.
Tom Worthington is at his lowest point. His dad was the ring leader in a Ponzi scheme that led lots of people to lose everything. But Tom is a victim too because he lost everything plus he has to live with the repercussions of his father’s dirty deeds. He’s paying for college by busting his butt during the weekends being a cab driver. He finally got into dorm housing and he’s hoping this is a turning point for him. Unfortunately he is put in a dorm room with a guy who absolutely does not want a roommate and has his own scars and demons he’s battling.
Reese Anders is an out and proud Goth kid who likes his space. He was once a victim of a sexual assault so he has issues with people being in his space. They do not hit it off at first and the attraction between these two is a slow, simmer at first.
Tom has always been attracted to both males and females. He’s intrigued by Reese but his life is so topsy turvy he doesn’t want to get involved with anyone. He’s trying his hardest to keep a low profile.
Their attraction to each other wins out in the end and they embark on a relationship that they decide to keep quiet for Tom’s sake.
As these things tend to happen the hiding takes its toll on Reese. He has no intentions of going back in the closet and he has no intentions of staying there. This, of course, causes huge problems in their already shaky relationship.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Tom and Reese navigate the minefields that were scattered throughout this story. Watching them come together after fights, watching how patient Reese is with Tom, and how gentle Tom is with Reese was incredibly heartwarming.
I loved reading this story. And the side characters were AWESOME; I just loved Steph and Cash, so much. Looking forward to the other books in this series.