Guest review by Orion
Review summary: A sweet but underdeveloped short romance.
Jared Glass thinks he’s got a pretty sweet deal. Andrew Blackwell is his best friend and roommate, they both live for gymnastics, and Jared’s on his way to the 2016 Olympics. Then Jared’s teammate breaks his leg, and Andy is named his replacement … except no one tells Jared, and isn’t that something you’d tell your best friend? Then again, they’re good at bending around the obvious: Andy’s been in love with Jared for years but stays silent; Jared denies it could even be possible. Surely two friends this close can be more?
“Flexibility” is another story from Dreamspinner’s Make a Play Daily Dose. With the Olympics only two months away, gymnast Jared Glass is pretty stressed out as this short, neat little story begins. Realizing that no one cared enough to tell him his friend and roommate Andrew Blackwell has joined the team sends him into a complete fit. But it isn’t the lack of communication that has him so worked up. It’s the fact that he is in love with Andrew, and he doesn’t want to face up to it.
This is a well-worn premise for a romance, but it’s always interesting to see what an author does with it. Ms. Rose creates interesting characters in Jared and Andrew. She does a very good job of conveying Jared’s irritability with everything, and I liked the flirtatious banter between Jared and Andrew. She also makes the attraction between the two guys very clear in the way they can’t keep their hands off each other.
One of the ways I found the story sorely lacking, however, was its failure to provide a solid reason for Jared’s unwillingness to accept his feelings for Andrew. At one point, he says of himself that he is not good with relationships, platonic or romantic. But he knows Andrew is gay and just as attracted to him as he is to Andrew. I kept thinking that, whether a guy is good at relationships or not, if he was really in love, he would dive in and take his chances. It seemed to me that there had to be some other reason behind Jared’s reluctance. I felt that the characters were not fleshed out enough. They are more sketches than fully realized people. I think the story would have benefited from having a few more pages devoted to developing the main characters and exploring Jared’s reservations about his love for Andrew.
The bio says that Maja Rose is a 21-year-old student who has always wanted to be an author. She displays promising talent here, and I certainly hope she continues writing and honing her skills. I think we will see some very fine tales from her in the future. Despite the shortcomings, “Flexibility” makes for a nice, quick summer read.