Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Review: Tackling the Subject by Jon Keys

tackling the subjectTitle ~ Tackling the Subject

Author ~ Jon Keys

Publisher ~ Pride Publishing

Published ~  1st August 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, New Adult





Sam struggles with issues from high school and his biology tutor triggers them all. Gordy isn’t sure he wants to deal with the trouble Sam represents.

Sam Doherty, a twenty-two-year-old computer science major, is struggling to pass the required classes in biology. While Sam is out and proud, he’s secretly dealing with an assault he suffered in high school. Sam may be the president of the campus Gay-Straight Alliance, but he’s struggling to find balance in his life. When he realizes he needs help with his class, he signs up for a biology tutor, but the guy who arrives for their meeting sets off all his triggers.

Gordy Hager is a biology whiz kid, the best tutor at the University Help Center—and the star tackle on the football team. Sam despises him at first sight. Gordy is the brainless caveman athlete that Sam still has nightmares about. Unable to control his reactions, he drives Gordy away and makes it plain he will never ask for his help. One week and a failed quiz later, Sam knows he has to swallow his pride.

But while Gordy might be a nice guy, he isn’t going to help someone as insulting as Sam. Sam’s determination pays off, and he gets Gordy’s assistance, but his grades are only the first pothole their relationship hits. From their discovery that they both are gay, to supporting each other against family, their connection has more than its share of issues. But when their worst fears come to fruition, they struggle with a way to save Gordy’s college football career and face Sam’s issues of intimacy.


Jane’s Review

This is a contemporary new adult story that sees the development of a relationship between hot closeted jock Gordy and out and proud Sam. Sam is flunking biology and is assigned a tutor to help him pass the class. He needs to pass in order to graduate. Sam is out and proud and always has been since high school. He doesn't have any relationships as he is dealing with crippling intimacy issues as a result of being brutally assaulted by three football players in high school. He is a strong character though and has taken self defence classes and goes to counselling to help with his recovery. (The assault is described but not in huge detail but some readers may need to check the trigger warnings).  So when Sam’s tutor turns out to be a hulking great football player it instantly triggers Sam and he turns into a bit of a pompous jerk and refuses Gordy’s help.

Gordy is a really intelligent guy and is on a full football scholarship. He is gay but closeted, as he fears being kicked off the team and then he would lose his scholarship. He can't understand Sam's problem with him but walks away and leaves Sam to it. Sam tries to get another tutor but there is no one else available and so after grovelling a bit he manages to get Gordy to tutor him. From there the friendship develops with both of them learning each other's secrets and enjoying the time they spend together, though there are plenty of misunderstandings along the way between the pair of them. Sam’s intimacy issues are dealt with very well in the story. There is no quick fix which I really liked. He triggers several times and not in the same way or through the same things but Gordy is very patient with him. Sam struggles with his issues and at one point uses them in a classic defence mechanism and pushes Gordy away. This keeps the story moving along and I liked that you could see Sam make progress in resolving his issues in incremental baby steps.

We get to meet their friends and families too. Sam's friend Rachel is a strong, supportive character that I really enjoyed. Gordy's coming out is handled well with his family and that leads to a side arc with his brother Jeff and his sexuality. The coming out to the coaches and team felt slightly contrived to me but that's just a minor point. This is a lovely, sweet story, with not too much angst. The relationship that develops over time is quite adorable and the sex is explored well and handled deftly due to the intimacy issues and it felt very age appropriate. A sweet story with a lovely heartwarming ending.

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a wonderful story. I'm really hoping it's a great read.