Friday, January 8, 2016

ARC Review: No! Jocks Don't Date Guys by Wade Kelly

No! Jocks Don't Date Guys (Jock, #2)
What is a sexy soccer stud supposed to do when “following family tradition” falls 180 degrees opposite his closeted ideal?

From birth, Chris Jackson has been schooled on how to land a cheerleader. After all, his father married one, and his father’s father before him. Heck, even his older brother married a stereotypical cheerleader the summer before Chris went off to college. For two years, Chris dodges invasive questions about relationships by blaming his lack of female companionship on grueling practices and heavy course loads. But his lack of interest in girls should’ve given his family a clue. It isn’t until Chris mentions meeting a boy that his father’s synapses short-circuit.

Alonzo Martin is anything but a buxom blond. From his black hair, combat boots, and trench coat to his nail polish and guyliner, the mysterious introvert isn’t easily persuaded to date. Alonzo’s insecurities keep Chris at arm’s length, but Alonzo’s painful past might meet its match in the charismatic jock’s winning smile and sense of humor.

When opposites attract, only cheerleaders and gummy bears can help overcome fear and family tradition.

Todd's rating:

I was hoping to enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the first book in the series, "My Roommate's a Jock? Well, Crap!," but that sadly didn't happen this time around.

I actually did like both main characters, a lot, but much of the book just felt really awkward for me.

Chris is a 20 y.o. soccer team captain with a heart of gold. I loved him right from the start. He is strong, without being strong-willed toward others, and when he set his mind on a certain young emo-punk, he never faltered in his commitment. Major maturity points there for Chris.

Alonzo, aka Lonnie, is a snarky, withdrawn 19 y.o. college freshman from Nebraska with more baggage than Samsonite. He's experienced some major trauma 3 years prior, so he desperately holds onto his heart for the fragile thing that it has become.

This book is extremely slow burn and I love how Chris chips away at Alonzo's walls to work his way inside his heart. Kudos for the inventive re-purposing of gummy bears to help make that happen. I loved that and laughed so hard during those scenes.

If the story had kept going in that same direction, this one would have probably been a 5-star read for me, but alas.

The story went off track, IMO, when the whole " cheerleader " business came up. The men in Chris' family have all married cheerleaders for nearly 100 years, which Chris' father takes very seriously. Way. Too Seriously.

I found the whole cheerleader plot not only distracting, but to be honest, pretty mind-numbingly irritating and vapid. For all of Chris' maturity, his father showed none of that. Absolutely none.

The book also devoted chapters to points of view from Chris' best friend, Doug, and Alonzo's sister, Stephanie. Why? Other than to set Doug up for his own book, I felt his perspective only took away from the book's focus and I found it to be more of a detractor.

Plus, at 294 pages, the book felt unnecessarily long. By the time I hit the halfway mark, I was ready for the pacing to increase and the book to wrap it up.

I'm not adverse to longer books, I've *loved* all of TJ Klune's page count-friendly stories, but this read just seemed to drag on and on. And on.

Again, I loved both Chris and Alonzo, especially when they felt comfortable enough to become intimate, because that was smoking HAWT, but there were a ton of side-plot points explored, which made the book a bit unfocused when trying to proceed from point A, meeting, to point B, the HEA.

Lastly, I found a lot of phrases unrealistic for 20 y.o. Chris to be using. For example:
"Well, hot diggity dog!”

“Holy man.”

"Oh by gosh, by golly."

If you can find anyone under 40, especially a young college student, who talks like that, I'll eat them. Literally.

Yes, I did find much of the story enjoyable, including following up on the lives of the recently-married Ellis and Cole, but I also found an equal number of niggles, so this one clocks in at a little under 3 stars for me.

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