There are two things Ben Lewis has convinced himself he can never have at the same time: playing hockey and being openly gay. Hockey is looking to be his only choice. Until now.
Being captain of the team and starting his senior year of high school is a lot to handle. Throw in a budding friendship with his crush, Marcus, and Ben is faced with deciding if he’s brave enough to take the next step.
Fortunately, courage can come from unexpected places. His BFF Ryan, new friends, and a voice from the past are great assists to his determination to be true to himself and keep playing the game he loves, but will they be enough?
I liked this book a lot, but it didn't really throw any unexpected curves my way. Not the way that Cosgrove's last book, "A Boy Worth Knowing", tended to do.
This author definitely knows how to write extremely likeable MC's, and make you empathize with what they're going through. In this case, that translated to Ben's fear of coming out and Marcus' fear of being someone's closeted, dirty secret.
I especially enjoyed Ben and Marcus' best friends, Ryan and Rachel, who held both MC's feet to the fire and also added a bit of comic relief when things were getting a bit too serious.
Other than Ben fighting his own internal fears over coming out, the angst in this story is kept to an absolute minimum. Even Ben's hockey teammates were, for the most part, supportive once Ben finally got the courage to come out.
I was sort of happy to see that Ben got to come out completely on his own terms, in his own time, keeping the external conflict to a minimum. But I only say sort of because the story may have benefited with a bit less smooth sailing interest-wise.
In regards to steamy bits, other than a lot of kissing and a couple of aborted crotch grabs, this was your typical YA story, which tended to stay pretty PG-13, if not G-rated. So situated somewhere pleasantly between The Disney Channel and Skinemax. Ish.
The story ends with a very satisfying HFN, but neither of the boys discussed what would happen when the graduated that year and Ben left for Boston University to play hockey, like I'd hoped that would solidify details on. But I'm greedy like that. :- P
Overall, this was a pretty satisfying read and I'd rate it around 3.5 stars, so if you're looking for a fun, low-angst YA coming out tale, this might be a good choice for you.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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