Reading Between the Lines by Jane Davitt

74ec06b76db1b05c12a8159b226793c0a87452f4Title: Reading Between the Lines, 2nd edition

Author: Jane Davitt

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novella (65 pages)

ISBN: 978-1-61040-646-8

Publisher: Torquere Press (February 4th, 2014)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts

Reviewer: Eli

Blurb: Forced to room with a student who hates him on sight, Seth’s expecting a rocky semester, and falling for the surly Gabe only adds to his troubles. Gabe’s past is full of secrets, a closed book, but can Seth find the way to Gabe’s heart by reading between the lines? 

Previously published by Torquere in Kegs and Dorms (2008)

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Review: The book starts one way and then veers off into an unexpected direction.  Seth and Gabe are unexpected roommates with a love/hate relationship.  Gabe loves to hate Seth.  Seth sees Gabe as a puzzle to figure out and he begins his investigation to unravel the mystery. That leads him to discover violence in Gabe’s past; the discovery, however, still doesn’t allow he and Gabe to develop any kind of friendship.  It will take a confrontation for both men to be able to be honest with each other and to admit their true feelings.  Gabe must confront his past in and Seth must help him deal with the issues that have arisen from that.

This is a short story, but it manages to embrace the themes of homophobia, fear, violence and how the events of one’s life can haunt you if not confronted and dealt with.  The reader knows that Seth and Gabe will get together and their fights, disagreements and squabbles are viewed as the necessary sexual tension required.  When they do manage to get together, it doesn’t feel contrived and there’s a ‘realness’ to their conversation that is true to their age and their life experience.

As the story closes, this feels like a college relationship and not like it’s going to be an ever after story. But it is very appropriate for where Gabe and Seth are in their life.  While I was expecting some ribald college romp, this story had a hidden depth to it that made it sincere in its effort to depict what life could be like for two young men in college in this position.  I was pleasantly surprised by the content and while it has some angst to it, the ending with how Gabe and Seth had developed both a relationship and a friendship was a pleasant ending.