This was an intriguing coming-of-age story and a gay awakening triggered by a mysterious bad boy. It was also a story dealing with heavy topics such as the loss of a parent, bullying and homophobia, as well as the struggle to find yourself, which was powerful and gripping. And I certainly do have a thing for bad boys with a good heart…
Landon Griffin is a star football player in a small town Texas high school, with a dad running for mayor and the perfect girlfriend. But his simple life shatters when feelings spark for a new mysterious guy, Caleb, who has been sent to do community service at the high school. Afraid to risk everything, Landon struggles to hide his new obsession while trying to figure out who this boy is and where he himself fits within the spectrum of sexuality.
There was a lot going on in this story, with Landon’s struggle and journey to self-discovery, but also the side characters’ stories now and in the past, and all the drama, lies, bullying and violence happening. My favorite character was definitely Steve and I would have loved to get even more of his story included in this book. I rooted so for Steve and how brave he was for being true to himself despite the bullying and how mean his former friends treated him, Chris especially, but also Landon for taking the cowardly way out and never standing up for Steve. I also adored Steve’s amazing queer friends from the club and would have loved for them to be a bigger part of the story. But hopefully we’ll see more of them in the next book!
Landon on the other hand was a main character that it wasn’t easy to root for at times. He wanted to do what was right, but felt so naïve and quite selfish, that he ended up doing just the opposite. He sure made a lot of bad decisions and even though I could understand his motivation, some of these decisions (like cheating) were just not acceptable.
But all in all, this was an enjoyable read that kept me entertained and interested the whole time and I can’t wait to read the sequel! I also want to give some extra love to the gorgeous cover, which drew my attention from the very first moment and which also was perfect for the story!
Thank you to Gay Book Promotion for the ARC and blog tour invitation! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
3.5 stars rounding up to 4
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Matthew R. Corr
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez