Friday, January 9, 2015
Review: Off Campus (Bend or Break #1) by Amy Jo Cousins
Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.
With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.
But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.
Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.
Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.
Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.
Goodreads | Source: Purchased
Review: This book really shouldn’t have worked for me – angst galore, some voyeurism - but it was so so so well done that it ended up being a last minute addition to my 2014 favorites list. (I read it December 30th)
First of all, Off Campus is funny as hell. From Reese trying to shock Tom with his gayness out of being his roommate , to Tom’s best friend Cash’s well intentioned, but no filter verbal diarrhea and Reese’s feisty BFF Steph, I could not stop laughing. There are a lot of stand out characters in addition to Tom and Reece.
Then and most importantly to me, it handles a very sensitive issue with the respect it deserves. Reese has been through something very traumatic and it doesn’t go away because he talks to, falls in love with, or has sex with Tom. It’s so beautifully written I could cry. And hug Tom for the way he is so gentle with and protective of Reese. Tom has issues as well – in fact they end up being even more crippling than Reese’s at times but again – it’s not glossed over or easily resolved.
I hate when sex solves all in romances. I’m not gonna lie. There’s a LOT of sex in Off Campus. Really hot sex. But that’s not enough to fix everything. Loved that! The sex is a really important give & take between the two men that is about trust, love and commitment. It was very emotional. These two really work for their HEA.
There’s also more to the story than the romance. It’s kind of everything I wish more NA would be about. The struggle to find your place in the world, shifting friendships and that limbo land of still needing to rely on others but also needing to strike out on your own.
Both Reese and Tom f*cked up a lot but they were both truly nice guys who tried to push through their bullshit to be better people. For themselves and for each other. I can’t say enough good things about his book.
*Right after finishing this one I picked up Five Dates (freebie) by Cousins and although super short, it was really good. If you want to give her writing a try first check it out.