Distant Swimmer

Title: Distant Swimmer
Author: Jacob Cheyenne
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Release Date: January 21, 2017
Genre(s): YA Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 40,490 words
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Shy and scholarly, long-distance swimmer Ryan Zwick thinks he’s the only gay member of the college swim team. He keeps his head down in the showers, and his head in the books the rest of the time.

But when a sporty new transfer student joins the team, Ryan feels a surge of hope. Sexually inexperienced and looking for love, fellow swimmer Blake Gossens is everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend. But what is Blake’s game, exactly? And just how straight is he?

Blake seems to be more interested in Ryan’s best friend, Marissa, leaving Ryan to go back to secretly checking out his teammates in the pool. But Ryan keeps getting mysterious messages in his dating app from a stranger who seems to know a lot about him. Could this messenger be Blake? Or someone else?

When bad weather hits unexpectedly, Ryan is forced to confront his real feelings toward Blake, while opening up to the stranger by his side, eventually giving in to his wildest fantasies — and his heart.

Sophomore Ryan Zwick is on the swim team at fictional Chippewa College in Minnesota, planning to get his degree in Agricultural Science and return to the family farm. Except for one furtive blow-job, Ryan is almost a virgin, but knows he wants a relationship. “Ryan dressed casually, but he did not want to love casually.” The newest addition to the swim team is Blake, who seems to be everything Ryan wants in a boyfriend, but is Blake straight? Is he bi-curious?

I really liked the camaraderie of the swim team, and enjoyed how the author describes the zen of swimming:

Ryan was lost in that heady zone of complete physical effort and mental nothingness. He loved that feeling—the fuzzy, half-asleep brain that spun off into a dreamlike state while his blood pumped through him and he moved his body like a robot, lap after lap, swim, swim, swim. His thoughts vibrated through his skull like the ripples in the pool …

But what didn’t work for me was the “misdirect” of the love interest. By that, I mean

the first 40% focuses on Ryan and Blake, then after Blake proves to be an unbelievably arrogant jerk, Ryan rediscovers Erik, the Swedish exchange student on the team.
The love Ryan finds is all kinds of sweet and earnest, albeit a bit too insta-love, with a gentle chemistry that fits the young adult feel of this story. The story covers only a few weeks, but the ending and epilogue provides a HFN with the promise of permanence.

Distant Swimmer is a fairly short story (less than 100 pages) with a young adult feel and a nice writing style. 3.5 stars.

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Galley copy of Distant Swimmer provided by JMS Books LLC in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader