Published by: Rennie Road Books (July 28, 2015)
Format: Kindle ebook
Genre: NA M/M
Reviewed by: Judith
Rating: YES! BUY THIS NOW!
Holy…what did I just read? No, really: WHAT DID I JUST READ?! It’s been a very very long time since a book has wowed me from the get go but this? Page one and I was hooked. Stop whatever it is you’re reading and scoop up Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy cause it’s everything you want in a sexy as sin NA book: hockey players going from best friends to lovers? Check. College kids struggling with sports, family, and sexual identity? Check. Scenes so mind-blowingly HOT that you’ll be fanning yourself and flipping the pages so fast you might break your e-reader? Check check check!
Plot: Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.
Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.
Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.
Warning: contains sexual situations, hotties on hockey skates, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.
Review: I said it above and I’ll say it again: you need this book. Why? Simple: Him is everything good about NA. It touches on sexual identity, growing up, maturing, confronting your past, pursuing what you want in life not what others want for you, learning to relate and deal with family, homophobia…you name it, it’s got it and the message it hits home about each topic is spot on and relevant. One of the main problems I have with NA these days is how eroticized it has become – characters aren’t allowed any sort of growth beyond the sexual and as a reader, that’s frustrating on so many levels. I mean, college is a time to discover one’s sexual identity and to experiment, yes, but it’s not the be all and end all. There’s so much more to maturing and a lot of NA bypasses that to skip right to the good stuff. Him doesn’t. Yes, there’s loads of sexy moments (and by “sexy” I mean so FREAKING HOT YOU MAY MELT) but there’s also quite a bit of identity questioning as Jamie slowly discovers a side to his sexuality he never knew existed. There’s also emotional growth as Jamie and Wes each figure out what they want out of their lives after college as well as personal maturity where the two must deal with the repercussions of their choices. It’s sexy, and surprising, and just satisfying on a multitude of levels.
Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy were clearly meant to write together. The style of this book is as fast paced as the hockey games Wes and Jamie take part in; the dialogue flows naturally and there’s just this easy rapport between the two main characters that is effortless. The characters themselves are so vivid and real: Wes is a wise-cracking, daredevil and Jamie is the laid back dudebro surfer who’s content to follow him on any crazy stunt suggested…including discovering if that sexual encounter they had as teens might actually mean something more. I loved watching these two interact with each other. They had this easy friendship that clearly had hit some bumps but was finally headed in the right direction and it was just…fun to watch. Like seeing old friends pal around and rediscover each other again.
Everything about this book hooked me – the sexual chemistry between the main characters, the emotional development that was rich and nuanced, the superb writing, the effortless way the characters related to each other and all secondary characters, all the hockey, and the big finale that managed to surprise even me.
This one’s definitely a keeper and it comes highly recommended.
Things you’ll love: the characters are fabulously fleshed out and totally relatable; there’s so much hockey(!); the slow burn until the scorching and blistering sex scenes and of course, the sex scenes themselves; all the character growth that is not sex based; superlative writing.
Things you may not like: hockey and all sports in general; uber sexy sex scenes that you’ll have to hide from random people on the subway.