Saturday, November 17, 2018

ARC Review: Defensive Play (Boys on the Brink) by Jamie Deacon

Defensive Play (Boys on the Brink, #2)
One glance is all it takes to bring his defenses crashing down…

Seventeen-year-old Davey has never made friends easily. Shy, geeky, crippled with social anxiety, he feels isolated from his peers, and only his position as defender for the school football team fills the void of loneliness. On the pitch, his deft footwork has earned him the respect and acceptance of his squad, though at a price. Desperate to hold onto this camaraderie, Davey conceals the truth from everyone, even his own family.

Then, during the annual Brookshire football tournament, his eyes meet those of a rival player across the field and a spark flares between them, one neither boy can deny. Adam is everything Davey longs to be—confident, popular, comfortable with his sexuality. Davey aches to explore their connection, to discover where it might lead, but how can he follow his heart and risk rejection by his teammates, the closest thing to friends he has ever known?

Todd's rating:

This short, 80'ish page, YA story was pretty damn adorably cute.

The story began with 17 y.o. footballer Davey locking eyes with a handsome opponent from their rival team, and he found it nearly impossible to look away, but he wasn't the only one.

They later ended up talking, briefly, before Davey hiked up his skirt-tails and ran away, without leaving so much as a glass slipper for young Adam to hold onto.

Although Davey wasn't the most comfortable teen in social situations, I'm not sure if I'd go as far as the blurb does to say his anxiety was full-on 'crippling'. Davey's fear of being found out seemed about on track with what I remembered myself as a teen, but no actual panic attacks to be found.

I really loved Adam and was happy to see that, despite a few bumps and bruises when coming out, he was still confident, popular even, and willing to go after what he wanted, which was our nerdy boy Davey.

Seeing Davey and Adam's budding friendship grow was sort of like watching a tentative dance between two pups at the dog park. The slow approach, a bit of circling, some sniffing, a bit of playfulness, then they get over themselves and pounce with joy and exuberance.

It was all just too sweet for words, until Davey was forced to either grow a backbone and stand up for out and proud Adam, or betray their new-found friendship to keep hiding from his old friends.

That part didn't go as well as one might've hoped, but Davey eventually redeemed himself and made it up to Adam in the end, so all was right with the world as the story ended.

I wish the story had been longer, but it felt complete and I'd rate it at around 4 stars and I might consider going back and reading the first book in the series, which also seemed to be an entirely standalone story as well.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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