Author: J. Leigh Bailey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Genre(s): Young adult, gay contemporary romance, soccer, baseball, gay bashing, bullying
Page Count: 273 pages
Reviewed by: Natosha
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
This book for it to be a young adult book had so much emotional bagged that I felt like I was actually apart of what was going on. This book pulled so many different emotions out of me that at one point while I was reading it, sitting in the school parking lot waiting on my kiddos, that I was crying big fat tears.
Both Connor and Graham each took a piece of my heart with their story.
Poor Connor is under so much pressure not only from himself but from his dad, his teammates, coaches, classmates, and other people in his community that I do not know how he did not snap. He has the nickname of “Golden boy” because everyone looks up to him and expects perfection. He has pressure to make great grades, set a good example for his younger siblings and teammates, to help out with his brothers and sisters at home, to work at the garage his father has to earn extra money that it is too much for anyone but he is accomplishing it but the cost is extremely high.
With the pressures to be perfect and to get a scholarship for college and to do no wrong and not rock the boat Connor that Connor does everything that is expected of him and he does not even know himself.
When Graham moves to town everything changes. Connor knows from the first moment he sees him that he is attracted to Graham but he knows he could never act on it because for one he has a girlfriend. Two his family would never accept that about him and he would disappoint his father and he does not want to let him down. Three the small town they live in Graham is the only openly gay person there. And last, Connor is just plain scared.
The more he tried to stay away from Graham the more the universe seems to put them in each other’s path. Soon they become friends and eventually the attraction that Connor feels for Graham gets the best of him and he acts.
Graham is so surprised when Connor kisses him for the first time but he is so elated because he wants Connor but never thought it would be possible. Only nothing has changed, not really anyway. Connor still has all the same pressures on him and there is still no way for him to be able to be with Graham. And being a secret is not something that Graham can or will comprise on because he has done that in the past and it almost Graham his life and he is not willing to go down that path again.
After that kiss Connor’s life starts to fall apart before his eyes and his carefully planned future starts to become further and further from his reach. Connor has to make a decision on what to do with his future now that it has fell apart and he also has to decide if that future will include Graham before it is too late and he loses Graham forever.
This story was so incredibly captivating that I could not put it down. It was heartbreaking in so many ways that I cried more than once while reading it. This is one of those books that once you have read it, it will stay with you for time to come. Like I said both Graham and Connor both have a piece of my heart after reading there story and I truly believe that it will be the same for others that read it also. J. Leigh Bailey truly wrote a book that will be remembered by the readers for some time to come. This book truly made an impact on me, that is for sure.
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