Friday, July 18, 2014

Screwups by Jamie Fessenden

Title: Screwups 
Author: Jamie Fessenden
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Jake and Danny
Release Date: March 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
In 1996, Jake Stewart is starting his third year at the University of New Hampshire. Even as a successful business major, he is absolutely miserable. Not only is Jake pursuing a field he hates when he’d rather study art, he is utterly terrified of what will happen if his father finds out he’s gay. When he finally gets up the courage to move into the creative arts dorm on campus, his new roommate, Danny, is openly gay—and there’s no denying the attraction between them.

Danny Sullivan has been out since high school, and he appears comfortable with his sexuality. But something happened in Danny’s past—something that gives him nightmares he refuses to talk about. Unknown to Jake, the way he mistreated his friend, Tom Langois, when Tom came out to him in high school, is mild compared to the way someone very much like Jake treated Danny.

It may be too late to fix the mess Jake made with Tom, but if Jake wants to be with Danny, he’s going to have to fix the mess made by another closeted jock he’s never even met.

My Review:
I don't read as many college-setting books as I used to, but this book reminded me why I love them so much. 

Jake is a junior in college majoring in a degree he has no interest in, doing what his father has always pushed on him. He knows that this may be his last chance to do something just for him, so he applies to live in the artistic dorm...and is surprisingly accepted. Danny was on his acceptance board and was vital to Jake's acceptance. As a result, Danny agreed to take Jake in as his roommate.

At the beginning of the story Jake is an uptight guy, but that definitely changes throughout the course of the book. That was a fun transformation to watch...and seeing him find his place in this group of friends was nice. Of course, at the same time, he's also coming to terms with exactly who he is sexually. He's never admitted it to anyone else besides himself, but Jake is gay. As he gets more comfortable with his out and proud gay roommate, they begin to experiment. But Danny has secrets and knows that they have to keep this purely about sex because once Jake learns the truth, he won't want to have anything resembling a relationship with Danny. 

This book covers a whole year in these characters' lives. It was interesting to see the different family dichotomies...which are so completely opposite. My heart just hurt for Jake and the issues with his father and brothers. But I also felt a bit of anger at his mom that she didn't step up more to protect him. Then there's Danny's secrets...*gah* what he went through is every person's nightmare when they put themselves out there hoping to find that special someone. He made bad choices, but it was easy to understand his young 17 yo reasoning and see how ended up in that place. 

I liked and enjoyed the story of Jake and Danny's romance, but even more I liked the whole backdrop of this dorm and this circle of friends. It was fun to watch Jake settle into the uncomfortableness of coed bathrooms and his sexuality and coming out. The book is set in 1996 and I wouldn't have guessed that there was so much to set that time frame apart, but the author did a great job of all those little details, from the D&D games to the music and TV shows at the time. 

This is one of those books that left me with a smile on my face. Simply a fun, entertaining read.

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