I read the first JOCK series book earlier this year and loved it, so when I saw the second book was out, I bought it without hesitation. As with My Roommate's a Jock (book 1), Wade Kelly continues giving us a wonderful, character-driven story. We even get to visit with Ellis and Cole (in all his funny science t-shirted glory) in a supportive role. I won't re-hash the blurb, which is spot-on, or give away spoilers, but I will say that I think this book is more about healing and self-discovery or even self-recovery, as opposed to a coming-of-age story. Chris and Alonzo are diametric opposites and yet so perfect for each other. As another reviewer mentioned, this is not an insta-love story. Yes, there is attraction but Chris and Alonzo have to work for it, but the progression is natural and these guys have great chemistry. Chris' joie de vivre and confidence helps coax out Alonzo's true self, with a little help from some gummy bears. Kelly's writing continues to be clean and as error-free as you can get in today's publishing. The characters are solid and well-defined; no cardboard cutout people here. I will warn that, as mentioned in the book blurb, Chris's father has a weird cheerleader hang-up. While I find it strange—and towards the end a bit creepy and irritating—you kind of have to take it with a grain of salt...or a handful of gummy bears. I challenge you to read this book and NOT be dying for a bag by the end! Highly recommend. You can read it as a stand-alone, but if you haven't read Ellis and Cole's story, you should check it out. When/if book three comes out, it'll be another instant buy.
(Originally Reviewed for Love Bytes Same Sex Book Reviews. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars)
I finished reading Wade Kelly’s newest Jock installment last night, and I’ve got to say…I quite enjoyed it, as usual for a Wade Kelly book.
The characters in this one had some flaws which made their story more interesting in some ways, and maybe one which touched me in an irritating way. I’ll share both as I go along, rather than just pointing out either side. Chris is this perfect son, sexy soccer player that all the cheerleaders have chased for years. But he hasn’t been caught by any of them, because he isn’t at all interested in females, or cheerleaders. His Dad is completely insistent that Chris find a big boobed blond cheerleader to carry on the family tradition, because ALL the men in the Jackson family marry cheerleaders and have for something like 4 generations!
Then one day Chris notices a guy dressed all in black, including a black trench coat, sitting in the stands watching one of their soccer team practices. Did I mention it is late summer in Maryland? Black trench coat? Chris is instantly intrigued. When he sees the guy in the cafeteria the next day, and starts a conversation, he realizes that the cheerleader thing might be completely off the table after gazing into the deep brown eyes of the guy, Alonzo.
Alonzo Martin has just received a scholarship to attend the school, but he is from Podunk, Nebraska, and has never seen the world beyond his small homophobic town. And he has some heavy baggage tying him to his past. Is he ready to date? When the sexy soccer player comes over and introduces himself…could he be interested?
I really liked the characters. Alonzo has been broken by events that happened back in Nebraska.
Chris Jackson and Alonzo Martin couldn’t be more opposite; they come from completely different backgrounds. Chris was raised by very loving, hands on parents and his family is still pretty close, even if his father is a little mental. While Alonzo comes from a broken home in a small town where being convicted of murder would be more acceptable than being gay. These two give new meaning to the term ‘opposites attract’. Chris is intrigued and infatuated from the start; Alonzo however, takes a while to warm up to the jock with the open, kind personality and a slew of friends. Alonzo’s past makes him wary of not only trusting people, but caring about anyone as well. Slowly but surely, one layer at a time, Chris works his way into Alonzo’s world, and eventually his heart. But an innocent mistake sends Alonzo into a tailspin, bringing back painful memories of the past. I liked that Chris and Alonzo shared this instant connection, but it wasn’t an insta-love type story. Chris has this infectious personality and it’s hard for people not to like him, but Alonzo is hiding under years of pain and sorrow, so if they had instantly fallen into each other, the story would have suffered. Chris had to show Alonzo that he cared, and not just with words. He basically courted his man, showered him with affection and proved to Alonzo he could be trusted. Still, when you have the type of darkness in your past that Alonzo has, it isn’t easily washed away. Chris wasn’t without his shortcomings though. He was overly critical and harsh at times of his friends, and boy does he have a jealous streak five states long! But I think that was a byproduct of his upbringing. As I said, his father is a bit mental. Speaking of… I didn’t translate the whole cheerleader thing the way I’ve seen some other reviews discuss it. I think what Kelly was doing with that aspect of the story is translating one person’s ridiculous viewpoint into the story. Chris’s parents didn’t give a rats backside he was gay, but his boyfriend isn’t a cheerleader. I read this as a way to show people how ridiculous it looks to others when they hold onto archaic beliefs, like blind, unwarranted hatred of homosexuality. But that is just my take on this part of the story. Jock 2 is a coming of age story I think, a story about loving who you are and being the person you want to be, not the person everyone else thinks you should be. It was passionate, emotional and I was engrossed from start to finish. I also loved that Kelly gave Ellis and Cole an integral part in the story; I do love when the ones that started the series get to stay involved. I’m very excited to see whose story Kelly decides to tell next. I’m hoping for Doug, but we shall see. * I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *