Title: The Perfect Shine
Author: J.K. Hogan
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 18, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 279
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Jackson Meade was a shy, awkward kid just trying to survive a high school with too many bullies and too few friends. Now that he’s in college, his eyes have been opened to a whole world of possibilities, especially those regarding love and sexuality. However, he can’t enjoy any of it since he’s been separated from his best friend.
Blake Renault has been in love with his best friend almost since they first met. After escaping a bad family situation, he lived with Jackson and his mom for the last two years of high school, which made it much harder to keep his feelings a secret. Graduation brings lots of changes for the boys, including Blake moving to a different city to apprentice with a tattoo artist and Jackson going off to college.
Being forced apart after high school leads them to new revelations about themselves and their relationship. While Jackson questions whether his attachment to Blake is normal for best friends, Blake decides to risk everything and tell Jackson the truth. Jackson and Blake must figure out what they want from each other while the future of their deep friendship hangs in the balance. Will they find love, or lose everything?
I must admit when I started “Perfect Shine,” I really wasn’t in the mood for a young adult romance about two teenagers living in a very small town in Georgia. But this book grabbed a hold of my attention and really captivated me.
Jackson is a junior in high school, determined to simply survive until he can leave town and get to college where he’ll be free of the bullies that plague his existence. Blake is the new kid in school, transferred from Baton Rouge and against all odds they become best friends. And when Blake reveals his bad family life, he ends up living with Jackson and his mother until they both graduate from high school.
The story starts out mainly with Jackson’s POV followed with a few chapters from Blake’s viewpoint but sometimes it is hard to differentiate the two voices, resulting in having to page back to the chapter heading to see who is speaking. For me personally, some of the high school scenes seemed to drag on and on, but finally college is Jackson’s time to reevaluate his relationship with Blake and to reexamine his sexuality and I appreciate how Jackson slowly realizes that sexuality can’t be divided into only two categories.
The romance develops slowly and is all kinds of sweet (and pretty darn sexy) and you can just feel the on-page yearning between Blake and Jackson. However the ending feels too rushed, as we get a HFN for Blake and Jackson’s relationship as well as Blake’s work situation, we meet a whole bunch of Jackson’s new friends, and it appears the author is perhaps laying the groundwork for another book in the series featuring Jackson’s roommate Cullen. Although I had a few problems with the pacing of the story, I really enjoyed this story of young love and give “Perfect Shine” 4 stars.
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