Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins ~ Review by Caroline

22857416 Title: Off Campus

Author: Amy Jo Cousins

Publisher: Samhain

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.

Caroline’s View:

This book is about two of the most complicated men I have ever come across. Massive issues of trust, huge problems with self esteem and at times terrifying fear that makes it impossible for you not to fall for Tom and Reese immediately.

Tom Worthington had everything he could ever want that wealth could buy. He could never have realised when his father was arrested for fraud that it wouldn’t just be the money and material things that went but that his friends would vanish too. Through no fault of his own he was left with nothing, not even a roof over his head, and in the weeks that followed his father’s incarceration he learnt what it meant to be truly alone.

Tom becomes insular and the shame he feels at what has happened leaves him unable to ask or accept help. Desperate to finish college he becomes a one man earning machine. There will be no financial aid for him, his pride won’t allow it, and so he sets off on a course where he relies solely on himself. He is determined to earn every penny required even if at the back of his mind he realises he has set himself an impossible dream.

He returns to college after some time out avoiding the press and scandal and just wants to keep his head down until he graduates. He is placed in the housing complex that is usually used by the older students but it suits him perfectly to be away from everything and everyone he once knew. His paranoia is at an all time high, every click of a camera is aimed at him, every hushed conversation is about him and a letter from the dean welcoming him back and offering advice is taken completely the wrong way. Never has a young man been more alone.

Reese Anders has been promised his own room in the quieter complex that houses the older students. A brutal attack has left the man a shaking and nervous wreck. He no longer drinks, he has very explicit rules for hook ups and his biggest fear is being around jocks. He feels intimidated and out of control when anyone bigger than him appears threatening. When he comes home to his dorm to find an unexpected roommate he barely keeps it together.

Tom just wants to stay under the radar and finish his studies in relative peace. He works all weekend so he doesn’t see the problem of sharing a room during the week. Reese has other ideas and wants him out. If bringing home hook-ups, having noisy sex and leaving the room smelling of man and sex is what it takes then that is exactly what he plans to do – over and over again until the message is received. His plan certainly didn’t include performing in front of his roommate or for said roommate to be turned on or to find out that maybe his big jock of a roommate isn’t as straight as he assumed.

Friendship develops slowly for Reese and Tom. Tom is constantly fighting his demons and isn’t prepared to let anyone in but slowly Reese gets under his skin. Reese has so many issues left over from his attack that he still battles with being around anyone that has the power to hurt him. When you add in the fact that Tom isn’t out, he works enough hours to kill himself, and he is ashamed about his name and who he is things are not going to run smoothly.

This is a bittersweet story about two young men living with so many problems and issues between them that you would never give them much of a chance. What neither of them realises is that this imperfect relationship they are clinging to and that doesn’t work in so many ways is the very thing that is helping them move on and grow. The saying about letting go of the thing you love to see if it comes back is very true for both of them.

Buy Links


Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo US

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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,

Brandilyn
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