The Outfielders, by Robert P. Rowe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 31, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Sometimes love can come out of left field.
Tony was waiting until he went away to college to come out to his parents and start his new gay life. Unfortunately, at twenty-four, it doesn’t look like college is going to happen after all. Stuck in a dead-end job in a small town and still living at home, with all the arrested development that entails, he finds escape in playing for the company baseball team and lusting after his straight outfielder crush, Alex. But Tony’s best friend, Jennifer, thinks she’s found a plan in the pages of gay romance novels. All Tony has to do is convince Alex he’s gay for you… or for Tony. It’s easy—just find some excuse to be alone in bed together and let nature take its course. What could possibly go wrong?
You can’t get to first base if you don’t take a chance and step up to the plate.
Friends to Lovers
Before I get into the review let me clear something up that may put a lot of people off this book. The book summary makes it seem this is a gay-for-you book, but it 100% is not. It contains characters coming out, but isn’t GFY.
If I didn’t dislike the main characters so much this would be a five out of five star book. Rowe did a good job writing them and making their story believable, but I was just not into them. They were kind of immature boys and I was MEH about it, but honestly that’s my own personal preference and there is every chance you’ll love them. The biggest problem I had with them was that they came off as super immature. They are supposed to be early 20s, but they came off as 16 year olds.
Other than that this was an unexpectedly good book. Based on the book within a book premise I thought I was going to be annoyed, but they used the book as a reference point, not as a main plot-driver. Rowe added some much-needed complexity to the In Love With a Straight Guy trope. Tony was super oblivious, but I still want to give him props for trying not to force his friend into situations where he’d be pressured into something he didn’t want.
All in all this was a friendship-based book, with low drama (outside of the main characters trying to get it together), and likeable secondary characters. One of the main characters had a bff/beard named Jennifer. I was really worried that she was going to be one of those 2D characters just there to make the M/M relationship happen. Oh boy she ended up being great.
Overall Rowe did a great job of fleshing out her character as well as the other side characters in this book. If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ve seen me complain about lack of character development, so you know I am thrilled about how developed all the characters were. There was one side relationship in particular that I can’t spoil for you, but oh my god it was the best reveal and I am seriously hoping they get their own book. Rowe if you’re reading this PLEASE WRITE THEIR STORY!!!
I have to warn all of you non-sports loving people that this book was heavy on the baseball. It was like a New Adult book version of the Sandlot movie. If you don’t like baseball I think you might get bored with this one. However, I love baseball so that part of it made me super love it. I wish more authors had sports-heavy romances, but I think they don’t do it so they don’t alienate potential readers.
Robert P. Rowe has spent his entire career as a storyteller making an incredible leap from Disneyland ride operator to show-designer and art director at Walt Disney Imagineering. Immersive storytelling presents a distinctive challenge unlike that of live theater, film, radio, or print media. Although he currently freelances, his work can be found around the world, primarily in Disney and Universal Studios parks. The theme park industry is a very cyclical business where it’s either feast or famine. For Rowe his active imagination can’t seem to take any time off. When he’s not designing fantastic worlds he’s writing about the characters who live there. Additionally his outside interests include all aspects of architecture with a specific fascination for the theatrical design of homes from mid-century movies and television. He has a keen enthusiasm for mid-century science fiction.
You can purchase The Outfielders from:
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.