Author: j. leigh bailey
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
Seventeen-year-old Connor works his butt off to maintain the golden-boy persona he’s created. He has the grades, the extracurriculars, the athletics, and a part-time job at his dad’s shop… every detail specifically chosen to ensure the college scholarships he needs to get the hell out of the Podunk town where he lives. The last thing he needs is an unexpected attraction to Graham, an eyeliner-wearing soccer phenom from St. Louis, who makes him question his goals and his sexuality. Sure, he’s noticed good-looking boys before—that doesn’t have to mean anything, right?—but he’s got a girlfriend. There’s no room on the agenda for hooking up with Graham, but the heart doesn’t always follow the rules.
As he and Graham grow close, other aspects of Connor’s life fall apart. Family pressure, bad luck, and rumors threaten to derail his carefully laid plans. Suddenly the future he’s fighting for doesn’t seem quite as alluring, especially if he has to deny who he really is to achieve it.
5*. LOVED THIS. J LEIGH BAILEY AT HER ABSOLUTE BEST. A BEAUTIFUL READ THAT I KNOW WILL STAY WITH ME.
So , I'm a fan of this author's YA *romances*, not so much of her more family saga stuff (equally well-written, just not my cup of tea), and was so pleased to be able to get a copy of this book for my reading pleasure over at Bayou Book Junkie.
It's a beautifully told tale, featuring a bunch of YAs that I'd personally love to know and to have in my life, a proper tale, some teenage angst, some teenage bullies who learned their lesson, some great support from friends, family and parents, and the start of something really sweet and meaningful for the leads. The author kept it realistic in ending the tale as she did, but she left me with a warm feeling in my heart about these guys, and about relationships in small town America. I am happy to say that my rose-tinted specs are firmly in place and that I would love to read more of these guys, a few years down the line - because that's where I see them, having a future together.
It'd be wrong to say that nothing much 'happens' in this tale, as although there's no massive, massive drama or crazy storyline, it's a tale about coming out, about learning about oneself, about accepting the truth about oneself, thinking things through, having the courage to do what's needed despite the fact that the outcome might not be what you'd expect, and about doing the right things, righting wrongs and being true to oneself. It's about parents loving unconditionally, about parents wanting the best for their kids, but perhaps not always knowing how to express that. It's about plain human decency and tolerance and openness. I am not sure if JLB meant any messages to come through so clearly, but all of the former are what she left me with.
It's a beautiful tale that I don't want to spoil it, but it's one that every parent should read with an open mind and heart. In fact, it's a tale that everyone could do with reading with an open heart, and I'd go as far to say that if I had any influence on my local schools here in the UK, I'd be petitioning for it to be on the approved reading list.
Thank you, J Leigh Bailey, for this beautiful read.