Just as real life can make you snort with laughter one minute and then have you feeling pain with every breath the next, so too does this story.
Author: Lisa Henry and JA Rock
Publisher: Loose Id
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars
Smart, shy Prescott sophomore Brandon Mills is working hard to overcome his troubled past and be normal. With the help of his friends Mark and Deacon, and his brothers at Phi Sigma Kappa, he’s slowly coming out of his shell. But when he accidentally drenches a freshman in orange soda, he faces something he’s not ready for: a boy crushing on him.
Alex Kekoa pledges Phi Sig because it has everything he wants: a house full of nerds who won’t tease him for being smart, a dog, and Brandon Mills. Brandon is just the type of guy Alex needs to help fulfill his college ambition: losing his virginity. Except Alex doesn’t know that Brandon can’t stand to touch or be touched.
When Alex and Brandon are drafted onto the Phi Sig Academic Challenge team, their mutual attraction grows. If there’s anyone who can help Brandon discover it feels good to touch and kiss, maybe it’s klutzy Alex with his cute glasses and his dinosaur obsession. But as the competition–and their relationship–heats up, Alex’s determination not to die a virgin clashes with Brandon’s vow of lifelong celibacy, forcing them to examine what’s truly important to each of them about love.
Brandon is approaching a breaking point. For so many years he’s denied himself so many things in relation to human contact, companionship, closeness, everything. He needs to make a decision about whether he’s going to allow the cliff’s edge to get closer and closer, or if he’s going to get some help in turning away from it and towards a new path. He already has some people willing to walk it with him, namely Deacon and Mark. And Alex?
Alex is hoping for a fresh start in college, to put his nerditry behind him, become an adult. Alas, that nerditry is a part of him and proves to be rather crucial in the weeks and months ahead. Who knew a love of dinosaurs could become so important in the lives of two young men trying to figure out what the hell they’re doing.
Brandon and Alex both know they want happy, they want more, they want to cuddle like kittens and fuck (or not) like bunnies. They want to discover what works best for them in all manner of things. Not always an easy task. This is especially true for Brandon.
Before things get too serious: Blake!! Hahaha he’s as hapless, big-hearted and unintentionally amusing as ever. Some of the best lines belong to him. More on that later.
Deacon and Mark. Mark and Deacon. For their sakes, for Blake’s sake, for all of our sakes, please read Mark Cooper versus America before you read this book. If you fail to do so, you will lose a number of opportunities to snort, giggle and plain laugh out loud at the things that come out of these guys’ mouths, at the actions and antics they share with us.
”Look, I don’t make the rules,” Mark said. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Underoos until today.
Deacon shook his head. “How much did you smoke?”
“Just enough that my head is full of old poetry, melancholy music, and dreams that dare to touch the divine,” Mark smiled winningly.
Honestly. I snorted. Yes, Mark and Deacon still “argue” over different terms for the same object or activity. Mark still consternates Deacon (who loves it) and Deacon still pushes Mark in good ways (Mark not so secretly loves it) and they are both crazy about each other.
I really enjoy the ‘big picture’ kind of story this is, made up of very intimate, wonderfully weird, tense and special moments between friends, family, boyfriends and those trying to become boyfriends. The friendships in this story feel real, natural, a lot of understanding, teasing and sharing to be had. Really good stuff.
This is some of the best writing these two authors have done together.
Brandon is dealing with something incredibly serious from his childhood. Nothing graphic is described but the ramifications, the huge array of feelings that have resulted and haunted him all of these years, they’re all examined and brought to light in one way or another. Some of most beautiful moments come from scenes when Brandon and Mark are talking about what Brandon wants, what progress, if any, he’s making… wonderful friendship stuff.
Alex is very observant, intelligent, very open and caring. And horny. He wants Brandon from the moment he sees him. Little does he know what all he’s going to learn about and share with Brandon. Little do they both know. The way their connection is built throughout this story is sweet, sad, tender, awkward and simply beautiful. I’m not kidding when I say that, more than once, I was teary and a lump was taking up residence in my throat, when all of a sudden one of them would say or do something that made me laugh. I get it. I get them.
Henry and Rock, this story feels to have been treated with steady, caring and exploratory writing. Time is taken for thoughts to work themselves out, for gestures to be given, for turning points to realize they can actually make those turns and things may be alright. Trust. It’s a rather large ingredient in all of this. All of these characters, not just Brandon and Alex, are learning more and more about how to build and maintain it. Tis not easy.
Fair warning, I’m pretty sure these authors were gunning for my heart, wanting to wrench it unceremoniously from my still warm body, and then dance a jig upon it. Gleefully. Also? I love that they can do that to me… for me. I’m thankful. Grateful.
He’d never been ashamed, exactly. Just that stuff got into your subconscious, no matter how hard you tried to keep it out. Gave you a complex no rainbow flag or pride parade could fix.
This is Alex thinking, but it speaks trainloads of volume for all of them, for all of us.
Humor, heart and healing. That’s the nutshell of this story, Brandon’s story, and of these characters.
You could technically read this without first reading Mark Cooper versus America, but you will miss a good bit of the emotional and humorous impact woven all throughout this book. If you’ve read Mark Cooper, then holy shiznoly, you’re more than ready for this. The tone, subjects and approach in this story are different than in MC. They’re all appropriate for and treat very well this story of Brandon.
This has landed in my top ten reads for this year. The writing is so natural, full of heart and respect, and it made me happy while reading it, even the most emotionally difficult parts.
And I’m making an official announcement: Mark is one of my favorite characters. Ever.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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