I generally have one of three reactions when I finished a reading a story that I enjoy. Some books make me think “Oh that was a nice story”. Some books make me think “this is an author I want to keep my eye on”. Some books make me think “I have to see what else this person has written and get every single one”. Umm… Screwups by Jamie Fessenden is most definitely in that final category.
Author: Jamie Fessenden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
In 1996, Jake Stewart is starting his third year at the University of New Hampshire. Even as a successful business major, he is absolutely miserable. Not only is Jake pursuing a field he hates when he’d rather study art, he is utterly terrified of what will happen if his father finds out he’s gay. When he finally gets up the courage to move into the creative arts dorm on campus, his new roommate, Danny, is openly gay—and there’s no denying the attraction between them.
Danny Sullivan has been out since high school, and he appears comfortable with his sexuality. But something happened in Danny’s past—something that gives him nightmares he refuses to talk about. Unknown to Jake, the way he mistreated his friend, Tom Langois, when Tom came out to him in high school, is mild compared to the way someone very much like Jake treated Danny.
It may be too late to fix the mess Jake made with Tom, but if Jake wants to be with Danny, he’s going to have to fix the mess made by another closeted jock he’s never even met.
Jake and Danny… what can I say about this screwed up pair? Well first thing first, the title is very apt. Danny and Jake both have issues from high school that still haunt them in college. Of course, Jake has the added pressure of a douchecanoe for a father and junior douchecanoes for older brothers. Jake isn’t out, and Danny doesn’t think he is worthy of love. Add in some good old fashion college antics and you have an entertaining read, with teeth.
The characters in the dorm are very real. I felt like I was back in college, myself. I was not in an “artistic” dorm, but I was in the “honors” dorm. Many of the characters were taken right from my own past. I had a Paul. I had a Danny and Jake. I wasn’t nearly as cool as Eva, but we can’t have everything. Even though I am not a gay male, I can certainly relate to some of the issues Jake is holding on to from high school. Everyone will find something to which to relate in Screwups, from the weekly D&D game to the Police Box to the characters surrounding the main couple.
When I first started reading Screwups, I had a hard time seeing Danny as “Danny”. It wasn’t a matter of bad character development or bad naming choices (just the opposite). It was the fact that I saw him as someone from my past. At about the 1/4 mark of the story, however, I was completely sucked in and didn’t come up for air until I was done.
These people aren’t perfect. There are no pretty ribbons and bows. There is no fairytale romance. What there is is slow and real, hurting, misunderstanding, over reacting, groveling, holding, kissing, loving, and hoping.
On a side note, I have to admit, my reaction (you know the one I mentioned up top) is not COMPLETELY because of Screwups. I recently read another Fessenden title by the name of Billy’s Bones. While I did not review it here, I would also highly recommend that one (and it is available in Audio).
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press 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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