Author: Jeff Erno
Narrator: Tommy O’Brien
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Story Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 07/14/2015
Length: 07 hours 35 minutes
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Jeff Irwin is short, timid, and studious. A bit of a social outcast, he lives quietly in the shadows of the popular kids at his school, his life ruled by his ever-present fear of rejection or failure.
Enter high school football hero Brett Willson and the chance for Jeff to embark upon the challenge of educating the world’s dumbest jock.
But what develops between Brett and Jeff proves far more challenging than any tutoring session. In 1983, rural Michigan isn’t ready to embrace love between two men, never mind two teenage boys. If they’re going to make a go of it, Jeff will have to come out of his shell—and Brett will have to prove he’s more than just a dumb jock.
I was a little torn about this book not because it wasn’t written well, because it was, but because there were times when I didn’t particularly like one of the main characters. However, at the same time I rooted for them to work things out regardless.
The main characters here are Jeff Irwin and Brett Wilson, teenagers who live in different social stratospheres in school. Jeff is the stereotypical nerd and Brett the quintessential jock and they have very little in common, or so they believe.
Jeff and Brett meet and become friends when Jeff is basically blackmailed by the coach into tutoring Jeff in English. Jeff knows he’s gay but doesn’t tell anyone and he develops a major crush on Brett. He doesn’t think Brett could ever feel the same way, despite how close they become.
Jeff is thrilled when Brett admits he has feelings for Jeff and has messed around with guys before, despite posing as the straight jock at school. They begin a sexual and romantic relationship and this is where I had some issues with the story.
Brett doesn’t treat Jeff all that great in the big scheme of things. Several times, Jeff performs oral sex on Brett and there isn’t a reciprocation. It felt more like Brett was using Jeff for sexual gratification and there were times I wondered exactly if Brett was just using him.
The use of the pup as Brett’s nickname for Jeff was shown as a cute appellation, but I didn’t see it that way. Following a guy around like a puppy dog, doing whatever he asks, and going along with whatever he says is not a good thing and certainly isn’t true love. Yes, these are teenagers who tend to do this sort of things and that’s why I didn’t focus on it too much.
By the time Brett bails on Jeff despite promising a romantic night alone I was convinced there was no way they could be an HEA, which would’ve been realistic. However, the author does give the characters their HEA and while I loved Brett’s public proclamation of live, I wasn’t 100 % convinced they could make it long term.
There’s an epilogue that shows the boys years later that I believe could’ve been left out, though some readers might enjoy that sort of things. The chances of a 14 year old boy finding the love of his life AND staying with him forever is extremely slim.
Despite my reservations, I enjoyed Dumb Jock a great deal. Not only did the author create two fresh characters in Brett and Jeff, he also portrayed several interesting supporting characters, including Jeff’s friends and family.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to this book to anyone looking for a fresh, sweet young adult tale.
Tommy O’Brien did a great job with Jeff, from whose perspective the book is written. Jeff’s inner voice felt like that of an actual teenager and never once did he feel older than 14 years old.
O’Brien did very well with Brett, as well as all the supporting characters, of which there are many. With many male narrators I cringe when they do female voices because they rely on attempting higher voices and it comes off as fake. That was not the case here. O’Brien is a talented narrator and I won’t hesitate listening books performed by him in the future.
I would like to thank the publisher 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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