Title: Pretty in Pink (Housemates #6)
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Release Date: February 21st 2018
Page Count: 249
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy—and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.
Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes—normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.
Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.
Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest—first with themselves, and then with each other.
Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.
Jay Northcote’s latest books were a little too fluffy for my tastes, so I really loved Pretty in Pink‘s extra tension and edginess.
I can see why this might be a polarising book. If you like your MCs to not have sex with other people, Johhny’s behaviour might bother you. Honestly, I loved him and I don’t believe he did something wrong. I’ll explain later.
This book gets so many things right.
The sloppy start of a relationship. OMG relationships that start in college, especially queer ones, can be a complete an utter MESS! Especially those that include an almost closeted bisexual and an out and proud femme guy who only does hook ups.
Progression from fuck buddies to boyfriends. I felt that the transition from “lets meet only to have sex” to “I’m starting to care” to “hooking up with others lost its appeal” to “I only want you”, came very naturally.
Exploring/coming to terms with one’s bisexuality. I will never judge a character who is just coming to terms with his sexuality unless he does irrevocable damage. It matters not wether his background is supportive or not. Not in the world we live in. Ryan acted like an asshole several times, but he redeemed himself.
Consistent characterization. I think that Northcote did a very good job bringing these characters together without giving them a personality transplant. Spoilers ahead, it’s your fault if you open the spoiler tags.
- So Johnny hooks up with other guys twice during the book. Both times are off page, his agreement with Ryan is that both of them are free to see other people, they ‘re strictly no strings attached, and Ryan keeps blowing him off or giving him the cold shoulder. Now Johnny is the kind of guy who loves sex and hooks up for fun. Some people go to the movies, Johhny has sex. Turning him monogamous for a fuck buddy who treats him not nice would be fake, I think.
Kink!Three words…Pink lacy boyshorts! Also, Ryan is an arseman. He really, really is.
The resolution. Both guys had a lot of insecurities and personal stuff to work out. Johnny had been badly hurt by a boyfriend in the past and Ryan was still not comfortable with coming out. So instead of talking, they kept to themselves, unwilling to open up. I liked how it all played out.
College (queer) life. I loved this part and how all characters from previous books made an appearance.
Would I like more relationship? Definitely. I would have also liked more talk and less sex. But this whole story felt more like the beginning of a relationship and how Johhny and Riley had to fight with their own insecurities to be able to share parts of themselves. And the ending gave me all the reassurance that Johnny and Ryan are going to have a glorious HEA.