Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3 stars
Type: Standalone Novel
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.
In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn’t happy about.
Review: The blurb of this book practically called to me. I LOVE books about athletes. Opposites attract. Different social upbringings. Closeted college guy. What it doesn’t say in the blurb that this book is rife with melodrama. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes and thought, “That would never happen,” a few times. Parts of the book were good but there were just too many other things for me to get much joy out of this book.
Will is the starting quarterback for SCU, which is a big football school. He comes from a very wealthy family. He’s dating the head cheerleader. His grades are good. Will is essentially living every football loving guy’s dream, but he’s hiding what he considers the two biggest parts of himself. Will is gay and his passion in life is painting. His father has big plans for Will and expects him to play the part. Will’s plan is to get through his Senior year of college and then break free. Part of that plan is to win a scholarship for art school. He thinks he can’t be who he wants to be and still get his family’s monetary support.
Will meets Noah at the art class he’s secretly taking out of their posh area in Laguna. Nobody there knows him as the star QB. His first day is painting the beautiful scarred faced man he learns is named Noah. Who seems to have caught the eye of the instructor. Shouldn’t matter since all of Will’s sexual conquests with men are quick and bought in the bathroom at a local park. But Will can’t seem to get the guy out of his head.
If the book stayed on that path I probably could have been into it, BUT it didn’t. From here we have the creepy teacher who won’t take the hint his student doesn’t want to sleep with him. Crazy stereotype of the bitch head cheerleader girlfriend who will doom the man who says no to her and ruins her senior year! That entire story line was so cliché and OTT. The alcoholic mother who doesn’t really play any role in Will’s life. The controlling father living vicariously through his son. A stalker gossip columnist who is obsessed with bringing Will down.
The OTT drama was one thing. Will’s character was a hot mess. At times I sympathized with him, but ultimately he was a scared little boy. Who liked to call his penis Mr. Cockamus. I’m not kidding. To me, personally, so many parts of this book seemed way too juvenile for 22 year old. I don’t know one person who would consider me a prude, but I’d have to say this book was pretty crude. That’s just a big turn off for me personally.
I also had issues with Will up and deciding to quit in the middle of a big game. Who does that? Nobody. It’s no where near realistic IMO. The coach wouldn’t have time to leave the field for a heart to heart and tell his star QB in a winning season, “oh you’re quitting? Yay for you. Good luck!” No. Then Will quits college in the middle of his senior year. Sells his blue Ferrari and moves in with his best friends totally accepting family. All in a Saturday afternoon. Seriously! I get it fiction but it also has to be somewhat believable.
I did enjoy Noah’s character. I almost felt bad he got mixed up with all the drama. I can’t help but think if this book were a show on WB it would be a hit. Some people love this stuff. I am obviously not one of those.