Series: Dumb Jock #4
Author: Jeff Erno
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 18th, 2013)
Heat Level: Mild
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts
Blurb: Evan Drake needs to be a role model to his younger brother Brandon, and although he’s a star on his high school basketball team, there’s more to him than meets the eye. He’s interested in many things, including drama and singing, and when he joins drama club, he meets Noah Sheridan, and he’s pretty interested in him, too. Noah is a super smart, cute but nerdy kid who has written a high school play about two gay students who attended Boyne City High twenty years ago, and who in real life, fell in love with each other. When the drama department elects to use the play for their high school musical, Noah urges Evan to audition for the lead role. Evan ultimately decides he wants to be in the play, but when he shows up to audition, it sends shockwaves throughout the school. His teammates are furious, and so is his best friend Bryan. As Evan and Noah grow closer, Bryan gets more traitorous, and it seems he wants nothing more than to see his former friend broken down.
Review: Evan and Noah know each other from school, but they’ve never been friends per say. That all changes when Evan tries out for the lead in the school play. Noah has done his research and written a play based on the story of two former Boyne City High students and the prejudice they had to endure when they came out as gay. Noah would love for the object of his obsession to play the lead, Evan. But Evan is not so sure he wants to play the role of a gay jock.
The more time Evan spends with Noah he comes to realize he wants to be more than friends. When he’s pushed to the limits by his best friend and fellow teammate, Bryan, Evan comes out. What he hoped would be a positive affirmation is quickly turned into an all out witch-hunt by his supposed teammate. An ultimatum is issued. Evan can be in the school play and have Noah for his boyfriend, but he has to quit the basketball team.
Evan not only has to deal with the pressure of being a gay high school student, but he has to deal with bigots and a best friend that is now his worst enemy, and will stop at nothing to destroy him. When everything comes to a head, Evan will learn that the love of his family, friendship, and tolerance run deeper than he initially thought. And the bond he’s formed with Noah only strengthens his resolve and their love for another.
I have not read the other books in this series, but I didn’t feel like I was missing something by not having read them. I loved that Evan was an all around great guy from the start, even defending Noah before they became friends because it was right, and Bryan was wrong. Evan came out early on in the book so there was not any of that back and forth angst with that aspect of the story. In fact, there wasn’t much angst in this book at all. It was just a well-written, gay take on high school musical.
And the boys mothers, oh my god, hysterical! Noah has always known he was gay and his parents are very accepting. Evan only recently admitted he was gay not only to himself, but his friends and family. His mother and brother are less worried about his sexuality and more worried about the assholes at school trying to kick him off the basketball team for being true to himself. These were a couple of very passionate women and that passion was evident within the story.
What I loved most about this book was that for every negative, there was a positive. Erno dealt with some dark issues. Homophobia, bullying, and suicide by leveling that playing field with love, support, understanding, and compassion. There weren’t any naughty bits per say, but there was definitely some heavy petting. Evan and Noah were absolutely adorable! If you are a fan of Glee and High School Musical, I think you’ll really enjoy this book.