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Friday, 27 September 2013

Social Skills by Sara Alva *****


SPOILER ALERT

Social SkillsSocial Skills by Sara Alva

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mmmm. Another college, first time romance book and another hit for me. Connor is the shy guy at college, the one who can barely utter his own name without tripping over his tongue who earns a little extra money tutoring and Jared is the popular football player who needs a little extra tuition.
JAred would, at first glance appear to be everything that Connor isn't - popular, outgoing, athletic... Yet when it comes down to it they are both gay guys still in the closet. Jared is the one who tries it on with Connor for a start and the boost it gives Connor is amazing, though still painfully shy he does start to come out of his shell a little with JAred. It seems like the relationship is a good thing - but when you dig deeper it becomes apparent that maybe it actually isn't. As they are both in the closet they spend all their time together alone in Connor's room. and Connor becomes quite dependant on Jared. Though he starts to gain confidence when it just the two of them he still has a real inferiority complex. I found it very easy to sympathise with Connor.
As well as being a great student, Connor plays the violin and it is his stand partner, Rebecca, who really helps Connor deal with his shyness. She invites him into her group of friends and accepts him, without pushing for too much for him. She is the first person to figure out he is gay and is the one who is there for him when things go wrong between Jared and him.
I loved all the characters in this book - Sara Alva manages the dynamics of them beautifully. I enjoyed the way Connor and Jared almost changed places in the story as Connor's confidence started to grow and he became more relaxed within himself and Jared started to doubt himself, Jared particularly found it hard to admit to others he was gay.
This was a story where you really fell for and feel for the characters - you live through their experiences with them. I can truly say I loved both Connor and Jared and felt every moment of joy and pain they both had. I haven't even mentioned the nastiness that was Connor's family, his younger sister was a saving grace.
I think this is a couple who still have a lot to give and would love it if another story was written about them - as this is probably not going to happen I shall enjoy the one we were given. An emotional roller-coaster for anyone who loves a story with 'feels' in it. A real pleasure to read.



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