Friday, September 8, 2017

ARC Review: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair

The QuarterbackBlurb:
Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

Todd's rating:

Some good and some (fairly) bad stuff here, but I ended up enjoying it, for the most part.

First, I really liked both Trevor and Matt, neither of whom totally fell into the stereotypical Asian math nerd or dumb jock roles.

Despite being rejected by his family, Trevor was not a delicate flower, waiting around in his throw pillow-infested ivory tower for a man to swoop in and rescue him. He was strong, confident and ready to put in the work to make a better life for himself -- even if that meant working at a sleazy massage parlor off of the interstate.

Matt's life was actually the more complicated of the two, as his controlling father used his younger sisters to force Matt to fall in line with his get-rich-quick schemes and maintain the perfect college athlete and son facades -- which did most definitely not include Matt coming out of the closet.

BUT... sweet baby Jesus, some of the dialogue and internal musings of the MC's were definitely lowballs on the politically correct and sensitivity scales. I'd be reading along happily, then out of the blue, I'd read some total stereotype or gay cliché', roll my eyes and think, "Really? That's where you went with that???"

The most memorable example was where Trevor pondered if he should spritz some cologne "down there" for his date with Matt.

Should he spray some on his junk? Would it burn? Would it weird Matt out? Make him think all dicks smelled like exotic spices? Or only Asian dicks?
Oh, yeah. You better believe I groaned long and hard when I read that, for sure.

Plus, during their big break up scene, my face fell on the floor and flopped around for a while, when Matt decided that throwing Trevor's massage parlor past back in his face was the perfect thing to say.

SPOILER: It sure as fuck wasn't. And what he said was cruel and completely out of character for him, so I was over his bullshit over what he said.

BUT... this story did make me laugh and smile much more than it made me cringe, so *somehow* it did still work for me, in spite of its flaws.

I absolutely loved Drew, Trevor's theater major roommate, who never failed to make me laugh. The guy was seriously funny and I'd love to read his story. Plus, the way that Drew's family pulled Trevor in, making him one of their own, those parts were packed to the rafters with feels in my book.

As for the sexy bits, well, they were fairly steamy, but something about them felt a bit off. There was never that "Wow, I need a goddamn cigarette after that" feel to them.

The story ended with the guys working toward an HEA, but did leave me feeling like these two have no idea of the relationship drama they just signed up for by deciding to begin their young relationship living smack dab in the middle of (view spoiler)

I'd have to rate this story at around 3.75 stars, because I did thoroughly enjoy the story, but did definitely have a few small issues with where the author chose to go.

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

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