Reviewed by Dan
Contains references to violently homophobic abuse and one graphically violent abuse scene
TITLE: Back Off! That’s My Jock
SERIES: The JOCK Series Book 3
AUTHOR: Wade Kelly
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 314 Pages
RELEASE DATE: August 26, 2016
Defining his sexuality didn’t make sense until his best friend spelled it out.
Doug Archer did some pretty idiotic things in the first eight weeks of his junior year of college. First, he kissed his gay best friend, and second, he kissed a guy he’d mistaken for a girl. Not stellar moments for Doug. If he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his spot on the soccer team to the new freshman, or worse, he might misconstrue his new friend Rob’s overly affectionate tendencies for flirting. But if Doug isn’t bothered by another guy’s attention, and he normally dates girls, does that mean he’s gay or bisexual?
Sam Garber suppressed his same-sex attraction his entire life. His father told him it was immoral, and Sam did everything he could to bury his feelings. However, after meeting Doug at a party and kissing him, Sam can’t think of anything else. He decides dating girls is the best way to keep his secret hidden. With playoffs in sight, this is no time to think about guys in any other context than soccer. Only neither boy anticipates the difficulty in suppressing his attraction for another jock!
Welcome to the third installment in Wade Kelly’s Jock Series. We met Doug Archer and Sam Garber in the second installment in the series. Doug was Chris’ best friend, and Sam was Cullen’s cousin who was dressed as a girl for a family inside joke at a party. The same party where Doug kissed him thinking he was a girl. Then they went on a date, with Doug still thinking Sam was a Samantha. Things didn’t go so well…but now he can’t get Sam out of his mind.
Sam Garber has had a pretty crappy childhood. His father is a total homophobe, pressuring and terrorizing Sam throughout the years and telling him he can’t be gay. Sam’s Dad has become increasingly violent since the untimely death of Sam’s older sister, and Sam’s mother has managed to get Sam sent to Maryland and the college where his cousin Cullen attends school. She hopes the separation will be good for Sam, and that it will get him away from his Dad while she works on divorcing the man.
When Sam shows up on the field at one of the team’s practice, Doug is blown away. And the story builds from there. There is a lot of angst in this one. Sam is working hard to please his father and dating girls. Doug has feelings for Sam, but they don’t appear to be returned. To make things harder, as I mentioned…they are both on the school’s soccer team.
This book has a lot of things packed into it. It has a winning soccer team which is working its way towards a national championship. It has a young man, or maybe two, in denial. It has severe homophobia from Sam’s Dad and also from an opponent soccer team. It has child abuse and spouse abuse. It has graphic violence in some sections. It also has some tender first time moments.
As with the other books in this series, I got to the end to find it is a “happy for now” ending, but there is definitely more to come. I recommend the book. I enjoy Ms. Kelly’s stories and characters. The only reason this current book is getting a 4.0 instead of a 4.5 is that I thought this particular story might have been just a little too dragged out. It might have been the mood I was in this week, but I didn’t love it as much as the previous books in the series and Ms. Kelly’s other books. It might also be that the characters are too young for me to empathize with and understand. The book isn’t really written for my age group/demographic, so that isn’t surprising.
All of that said, I’ll still definitely be waiting for Jock 4 to see what happens next! Because when it comes right down to it…I love me some Wade Kelly!