Title: Bully & Exit (The Midwest #1)
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press
Release Date: July 9th 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 172
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.38 stars out of 5
Theater student Caleb Stockwell is ready to leave college behind. Too bad his past isn’t ready to let him go.
With less than a month to go until graduation, Caleb runs into Nathan Rhodes at a house party. Nathan is a star hockey player for Western Michigan University and finally ready to step out of the closet. He’s also the guy who broke Caleb’s heart in high school.
Nathan’s determined to make amends for what he did four years ago, but Caleb isn’t willing to risk getting his heart stomped on again. With only a few weeks left before they go their separate ways, it’ll take all of Nathan’s creativity and help from some interfering friends to convince Caleb to give him a second chance.
This is a sweet enough story of getting a second chance. I liked Nathan and Caleb, and how their reactions were described. Nathan slowly won me over until near the ending when the flashbacks let me know what had happened. Suddenly I was the one who took a step back instead of Caleb. Here’s where I would have wanted to put all the flashbacks in the beginning of the book to match my feeling with Caleb’s. I could guess of course what had happened but when I read it, the incident became fresh in my mind and there wasn’t anytime to work through it and forgive Nathan as a reader. Also, having had such a huge effect on Caleb for four years I’d expect that Caleb would be taking it a little slow after forgiving him.
To be honest I still don’t buy Nathan’s reason for acting the way he did, I felt it was unnecessarily cruel. Still, we’re all different people and do stupid things sometimes.
Bully & Exit is written in third person and the writing style’s good although a few times I got a little confused as when Caleb was reading the letter and suddenly a flashback, if you can call it that, came in form of a new chapter. While I wondered what happened to the long letter Caleb was reading. I liked how the characters were written and how Caleb’s friend/roommate refused to help Nathan out of concern for Caleb.
So overall it had some angst, some sweet moments -when both boys got to know each other and when Nathan tried to make Caleb forgive him, and romance, which I enjoyed.