A Guest Review by Zac D
Review Summary: A competently written book that is easy to read and tackles the trope of ‘gay for you’ with grace and style. Lacked a little oomph, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
Matt Sullivan understands labels: law student, athlete, heterosexual. He has goals: graduate and begin his career in law. One fateful night, Matt tags along with his gay roommate to a dance club and everything changes. Matt finds himself attracted to the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. All labels go flying out the window.
Aaron Mendez doesn’t believe in labels, and he’s leery of straight curious men. He makes it clear that he’ll hide his fabulous light for no one. While Aaron can’t deny the attraction between him and Matt, he is reluctant to start anything with someone who is still dealing with what this new label means—especially when that someone has a girlfriend.
Better than Good is a book that is, for the most part, well written and easy to read. Matt is the main character, and the story is told entirely from his POV, detailing his struggle to accept an aspect of his sexuality he wasn’t altogether sure he had until he met Aaron–a man who turned his head in a way he’d never forget.
What I liked about this part of the book was that though the attraction was instant, the development wasn’t. There was real time for Matt to stew before he saw Aaron again, and even more before anything actually happened.
I have Aaron to thank for that. He was an inspired character and I enjoyed him very much. He had depth and intrigue, and he was thoroughly and unapologetically gay. Loved him.
I wasn’t so enamored with Matt. His narrative voice was slightly grating, and lacked the warmth for me to connect to him. I appreciated his struggles with his sexuality, and the way it was written, but I just didn’t like him very much. He wasn’t very bright, and came across as rather shallow.
I did, however, love Peter, one of Aaron’s friends. The partnership of blond, southern Jay and handsome Peter made me think of some obscure Twilight fanfiction from back in the day, but I didn’t mind. Peter was a solid character, and his blunt observations did more to move the story along that pages and pages of Matt’s wittering internal monologue.
There were some issues with the writing style. In places, the story was held back by tense switches, huge info dumps, and laborious dialogue. There was also a vomit of exclamation points that made my eye twitch. The writing style was good and showed huge promise, but would benefit from an overhaul. I didn’t need to know what each and every person was wearing, and I found it rather unbelievable that Matt would notice.
The end of this book is a sugar fest. It’s done well and suits the book. The HEA is predictable, and the lack of conflict made it slightly dull for an angst hoor like me, but it fit the characters and tied it up nicely.
Better than Good is a solid book. It takes a well-used trope and though not all that original, gives it a spin that doesn’t make the reader feel like it’s something they’ve read before a hundred times over. It takes the very real message that everyone arrives at their sexuality in different ways, and writes it in a way that’s very easy to understand, even for someone who’s never considered those issues before. It’s a very accessible book, and very readable.
It is very sweet and fluffy, and in places I actually cringed, but that didn’t make it bad. If you like that sort of thing, it’s utterly perfect.
A three star read for me, but I’m giving it a four because I think that people who enjoy books without heavy angst and bruising conflict will absolutely love it.