Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Second Skin
AUTHOR: Alex Whitehall
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 90 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2016
When Jay heads to the university’s learning center for help with his math class, he doesn’t expect his tutor to be tall, dark, and handsome. But Roswell is all that and more, and their instant connection over cult movies, books, and TV shows quickly evolves into dating.
That’s when things get tricky.
Roswell might claim he doesn’t have issues with Jay being trans, but when he’s constantly insisting they “take it slow,” Jay’s not so sure. He’s been hurt before, and he’s not going to let it happen again.
But then Roswell reveals that he, too, has a few secrets under his skin.
Stuck in a math class that even math majors avoid, Jay is in desperate need of help. Luckily there is a math tutor on campus for just this thing. And the tutoring is great, except Jay can’t help jamming his foot in his mouth every time he sees Ros. But despite the fact he has no control of his mouth in the presence of the hot tutor, Ros seems to really like Jay. Which, good. Great even. Except Jay keeps getting the feeling that Ros isn’t being completely truthful with him. And after one relationship crashing and burning because a guy can’t handle Jay being trans, he is a bit gun-shy.
*twirls happily in a circle*
I went into this book thinking it was gonna be pretty ok. The whole “falling in love with your tutor” thing is hardly unique, but it’s something I enjoy. Plus, trans characters are a major sell for me. Especially well written ones. So I was thinking I was gonna read a nice short story with bit of geeky coolness to top it off…and then something happened. Something awesome and so unexpected I did a whole happy hand-flail thing (it was embarrassing, to be honest, so it is probably good only the cats were witness to it).
And what is this “thing” I hear you ask? Well…I can’t tell you. Sorry. (not sorry)
It’s a secret and I plan on keeping it that way.
But it was pretty dang awesome.
Just trust me.
I loved how Jay and Ros were so relaxed together. They had a real thing going on from the very beginning and despite Jay’s total inability to form sentences it was adorable and totally relatable. And Ros: sexy, smart, and mysterious. Oh how my heart flutters. I have a real weakness for smart dudes. That he is so smart and yet so clueless about some things (with reasons) only made it better.
Jay’s group o’ geeks was something I’m well acquainted with. Granted the whole role-playing-game thing was something I was never really interested in, but I liked how Jay and his friends totally went with it.
One of the things that really got me though, was just how much I identify with Jay. Especially the whole name thing. Dear god, but it is a pain trying to come up with a name that you feel is you. I’ve been thinking on it for nearly a year and still haven’t got any real hits. I like how this book dealt with the little things, as well as the big ones, about being transgender. How it was just a fact that these things were going to crop up and no you don’t have to deal with them all now but they certainly are always there in the back of your mind.
All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyable story. I loved how even the parts that were **spoiler** were well tied into the rest of the story and only enhanced the plot instead of throwing me wildly off course. I recommend you try it, especially if you are looking for a fun story with a trans protagonist.