Him, by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Rennie Road Books (July 28, 2015)
Page Count: 276 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Summary: Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.
Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.
My Thoughts: Two incredibly talented authors come together for this scorching hot novel about two men trying to understand and define the attraction between them. I know nothing about hockey– much to many of my friends’ dismay– but I can tell you that this novel was steamy and gorgeous enough to make me want to check the sport out… at least, as long as it’s filled with sexy men like Wes and Jamie!
Told from the alternating perspective of both men, and with a series of flashbacks spanning their entire friendship, this novel was less about the sports and more about the emotions and the bond between them. Yes, hockey plays a big role here, but there’s very little actual on-ice time (just a lot of in-between-the-sheets time!).
I absolutely loved the relationship here. Wes has been carrying around a lot of guilt from when he was a teenager, and has never gotten over the love he feels for his best friend. When they meet up during a hockey tournament, the sight of Jamie stirs those feelings back to life, and Wes realizes that he’ll do anything to have Jamie back in his life, even if it’s only as friends. Jamie has always believed that he’s straight, but his attraction for Wes is so natural that he can’t bring himself to feel freaked out. And what starts out as an experiment to explore his bisexuality very quickly turns to something serious; the only problem is, Wes has made it clear that their relationship is over when summer ends.
And the little details really make this novel something special! The care packages that Wes and Jamie exchange, the memories they re-explore in Lake Placid, and even their interactions with their families really help define both characters. Even the settings are perfect, with the training camp at Lake Placid serving as the perfect beginning-middle-and-end for their friendship and relationship.
Just a heads-up, though, that the flashbacks were sometimes a bit confusing to follow. There was no clear delineation between past and present, which meant it sometimes took me a while to figure out what was happening in a scene.
For a novel with a hockey stick on the cover, I have to say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! Bowen and Kennedy really create two exceptional characters, and the love story between them is just perfect. Highly recommended, for sports-fans and non-sports-fans alike!
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