Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/21/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult
A Serpentine Series Book
Shy guy Jed Carter has always felt invisible next to his charismatic older brother, Kent. Kent’s master plan for Jed is simple: University of Virginia, fraternity, business, sports, and ladies’ man. None of it is Jed, except for playing on the rugby team, which he joins in defiance of soccer-loving Kent. Jed comes out in his sophomore year and starts seeing Pete, an attractive junior, who uses him for sex and videogames. Jed wants more—in life and in love—and starts making his own plans. First on the list: getting to know Charlie, the handsome guy working at the local videogame arcade.
Charlie Ambrose has always felt like an oddball, and not just for his tendency to stutter. Being gay sets him apart from his African-American community, and as a “townie,” he doesn’t fit in with the college crowd. Charlie’s inspiration is his cousin, Morocco, who’s transgender and doesn’t give a fig about fitting in. Art is Charlie’s passion, and when a local videogame designer discovers him, Charlie’s living a dream. The only thing he’s missing is love. But the last person Charlie expects to find it with is a cute, white U.Va. rugby player named Jed.
It has been a long time since I visited with Jed. I thought about re-reading Serpentine Walls (which I adored), where we first met him, but time wasn’t on my side. I decided just to go for it since all the books in this series are supposed to be able to be read standalone and in any order. This is completely true, as they take place in parallel to one another. You see a few of the characters from Serpentine Walls and Aidan’s Journey along the way, but they are only background characters.
Jed isn’t at all who I expected him to be — in a good way. When I read Serpentine Walls, I pictured a geeky guy who wanted to follow Pete around like a puppy. He was pretty two dimensional, as he was only a minor characters. He was a stepping stone for Pete along his journey to Matt. He is so much more than that puppy, however. I enjoyed getting to know his depths, passions, fears, and his heart.
Charlie is a new character. He is a “townie” in a predominantly college town. I have never had that experience, but I did go to undergrad in a College town. I know the arrogance with which college students often approach townies. I have seen the disdain students have for anyone not directly associated with their chosen University. I didn’t go to U.Va, but my undergrad University is just as steeped in tradition (if not more) and just as insular as the U.Va campus portrayed in Serpentine Walls. He is also out of place in his own community. He is mixed race, being raised by a White mother in an African American community.
It takes much of the book for these two men from very different worlds to find each other. They each have struggles and triumphs along the way. They make good decisions and bad decisions. They deal with their own insecurities and inadequacies. They both have to find ways to tell their families and the world that they are gay. They both have supportive friends and homophobic friends. They both love video games.
One other theme tackled in this story with grace and respect is trans* issues. Morocco is only a minor character, but she has a huge role in Charlie’s life. We see her struggles from an outsiders perspective. I hope we get her book soon, as she needs to find her happily ever after.
Speaking of minor characters needing their story, Tucker needs his story.
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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