Author: J. Leigh Bailey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 17th 2016
Genre(s): Young Adult
Page Count: 250 pages
Reviewed by: Lili
Heat Level: 1 flame out of 5
Rating: 4.5 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.
I really enjoyed this one. I didn’t have much luck my first time around with this author, but she made a fan out of me with Guyliner. She had me from the acknowledgment on. There were so many things that I loved about the story.
-Connor. He’s a hard working young man struggling with his sexuality and trying to keep up with the expectations set by his father.
-Graham. Brave, strong, and loyal. He was my favorite character in the book.
-The supporting cast. Connor and Graham’s family and friends were great.
-Connor and Graham’s voices. I thought the author did a stellar job depicting young people. We all remember how emotional and confusing teenage years were. J Leigh Bailey brought those feelings to life with these characters.
-Relationship development was nicely done. Although it’s not steamy in the explicit sense, there’s plenty of build up between Connor and Graham.
-The pace of the story was smooth.
-The end was an HFN- these guys are very young, but I was left feeling a that they’ll make it.
All in all, I think this is a winner for Ms. Bailey. It’s a wonderful story about family, friendships, self-discovery, and inner strength. 4.5 Stars.