Reviewed by Amber
AUTHOR: J. Leigh Bailey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 250 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 17th, 2016
Seventeen-year-old Connor works his butt off to maintain the golden-boy persona he’s created. He has the grades, the extracurriculars, the athletics, and a part-time job at his dad’s shop… every detail specifically chosen to ensure the college scholarships he needs to get the hell out of the Podunk town where he lives. The last thing he needs is an unexpected attraction to Graham, an eyeliner-wearing soccer phenom from St. Louis, who makes him question his goals and his sexuality. Sure, he’s noticed good-looking boys before—that doesn’t have to mean anything, right?—but he’s got a girlfriend. There’s no room on the agenda for hooking up with Graham, but the heart doesn’t always follow the rules.
As he and Graham grow close, other aspects of Connor’s life fall apart. Family pressure, bad luck, and rumors threaten to derail his carefully laid plans. Suddenly the future he’s fighting for doesn’t seem quite as alluring, especially if he has to deny who he really is to achieve it.
I honestly didn’t think I could like a book that didn’t have sex in it. J. Leigh Bailey has proven me wrong. This story was so friggin good. I’m not the biggest YA fan but this book made me rethink this whole genre.
In the wake of a gay bashing that took several months to recover from Graham Parker and his family move to a small town to start a new life. One thing Graham refuses to do is lie about who he is so he sports eyeliner and faces bullies head on. Being an amazing soccer player doesn’t hurt either. Throughout everything that’s happened soccer always remained extremely important to Graham.
“Golden Boy” Connor has a plan. He works hard keeping his grades up, makes sure he is there for his siblings, and never loses focus on his goals. He’s not prepared for the feelings Graham invokes. Being gay never factored into Connor’s plan.
Thrown together and realizing they have a ton in common, Graham and Connor start a tentative friendship that slowly develops into something more.
This story is the quintessential coming of age/coming out story. Another thing I really loved were the secondary characters. Both boys had really great, supporting families that just made you hope all teens had the same support systems.
I’d love a sequel to Connor and Graham’s story. I loved to see them older in college together and how they grow into their relationship.
Overall, I really loved this one which is really no surprise as I am a huge fan of this author. Definitely recommend!!