Author: J. Leigh Bailey
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Length: Novel (242pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th October 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: 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.
Review: Connor Fitzpatrick is mostly known as the golden boy of his school. He’s the star pitcher on his baseball team, he has a beautiful girl, a perfect GPA, and is junior class president. However, with having a part-time job at his father’s mechanic shop, babysitting his younger siblings, and trying to be perfect he doesn’t need distractions, until one day when he sees Graham Parker, who’s wearing guyliner, from across the school gym.
Graham moved to St. Louis after a gay bashing that almost killed him. He decided that at his new school it’s going to be all about soccer until college. That doesn’t mean he is going to deny who he is or hide in the closet. But when he sees Connor Fitzpatrick all bets are off. A misunderstanding puts both of them working with each other and feelings start to grow. But after a trip to Chicago, discriminating pictures start surfacing online… will Connor be true to himself or will the pressure of being the golden boy be too much for him.
When I started reading this book I couldn’t stop. I cried when I read what happened to Graham in his old school and I cried with Connor when he started learning who he really is. The only problem I had with this whole book is that I sometimes felt that Connor’s coming out wasn’t really relatable. However, I had to tell myself that not everyone’s coming out story is the same.
I understood Connor’s want to get out of his small hometown and how claustrophobic it feels at times. At times you hate Connor and wish he’ll be more open but at other times understand why he was scared. I loved Graham from the beginning from his awesome t-shirts to him being opened and out about who is he. I loved that J. Leigh Bailey didn’t make everything with rainbow and butterflies.
With this story, you get the ugly with the beautiful and it compliments with other. 5 hearts and I can’t wait for what J. Leigh Bailey comes out with next.