I am fairly new to the audiobook world of gay romance. I joined Audible a few months ago, and I have pretty much stuck to only buying books I have already read. Social Skills had been on my to-read list for a year or so, and this was my opportunity to take a chance and listen to a story I have wanted to read for a while.
Author: Sara Alva
Narrator: Andrew Eiden
Publisher: Self Published
Story Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Music is the only form of communication Connor Owens controls. No matter how badly he wishes to fit in, friendly banter and casual conversations have never been his thing. College is yet another social universe he has no clue how to navigate—until he meets Jared, a football player with chestnut eyes and a cocky grin that holds the power to shatter his self-imposed prison.
Jared’s attention opens Connor up to a new realm of emotional and physical intimacy. But as Connor’s self-confidence grows, so does his fear that everything will fall apart. Because in this socially stratified world, how long can a relationship between an introverted violinist and a closeted football player really last?
My View – Story:
Let me start off by saying I did love this story. It takes place during the freshman year of college for a young man who is incredibly anxiety ridden, and it is told from his point of view. Conner is an extremely talented violin player. He throws all of himself into his talent because that is his way of hiding from the world that frightens him – the world of people. He is painfully shy. His violin is his security blanket and gives him comfort in a way that no other human being has provided him before.
Jared is a football jock. Conner has noticed him in class and around campus, but would never have the nerve to interact with him. That opportunity is forced upon him when Jared becomes his tutoring client.
You can see where this is headed right? An insecure, but lovable quirky musician and a deep in the closet, very handsome, but supposedly straight jock. Yes, the train wreck is coming. It is almost too painful to wade through the journey with Conner. Thankfully though the author adds enough enjoyable secondary characters that it makes the trip worthwhile.
After reading (uhhum listening) to this story I felt like I went through Conner’s freshman year with him. It’s that immersive. Oh, the tears, the heartbreak, the anxiety, the self-loathing and the pain! But there is also the joy, the discovery, the excitement, the growth, the passion and the love that make it all so very entertaining. It moves along slowly with a lot of day to day details, but I think that’s what helped to make it feel so real.
The only part of this story that kept me from giving it a full five stars were Conner’s parents, well really his mother. When I listened to the portions of the story that included interactions with her I was reminded of Cinderella or something. As a character the mom just didn’t feel believable, at least compared to the other characters that were so well done. His overbearing mom treats him like a servant, and is so obviously unconnected and cruel it almost felt a bit contrived.
I have read a lot of other books with a similar storyline. Becoming an adult, coming out in college, falling for a closeted jock, discovering first love and heartbreak, but I will say the author did a fine job of making it her own. A lot of this is due to the supporting characters. I give thanks to Conner’s new friends that went along for the ride. I particularly enjoyed Rebecca, his orchestra stand partner, she was a bright spot in the story. Rebecca was the glue that held the other fragile bits together, and without her in this book I am not sure I could have felt so positive about the whole experience.
My View – Narration:
Finally I want to say something about the narration. I thought it was very good. Andrew Eiden did an excellent job. This book has a lot of dialogue, and I rarely had a hard time keeping track of who was doing the speaking. That is not always the case with stories where a lot of different characters are talking. Having not ever read the story first I never felt lost or needed a break. That’s my real test I think. Would I buy this book even though I have now heard it? Yes, I would. It’s a keeper.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the audiobook 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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