I am always astounded at the audience for most m/m romance. You’d think, what with it being about gay guys and all, that the primary audience would be men. But, I dare you to go through the comments/reviews section of any m/m book on GoodReads or LIbraryThing or anything of the like, and the vast majority of the readers will be women. Maybe someone somewhere has figured out why this is, but I’m just going to note it and move on.
Yesterday, I finished Daisy Harris’s College Boys, the first in the Men of Holsum College series. The book follows soccer star Chris Fincher. He has moved out of the suite he is sharing with his soccer teammates and moved into a single room across campus. The single room has a wall that connects it to another room occupied by Peter, an out gay junior that Chris knows from orientation. Oh, and the wall is paper-thin so they can talk to each other through it like its The Fantasticks or the play from the end of Midsummer.
Put a “straight”-enough seeming boy next to an out, bit more confident gay boy. Add booze for a first encounter. Shake until chilly. Strain and serve with lemon garnish.
The story of the book isn’t actually bad. Harris can write a romance scene, let’s make no mistake. And for pure escapism value, this book is a treat that reads smoothly and quickly. Plus, who doesn’t love a good romance book cover?
But there are a lot of missed opportunities for more. Chris’s mother died and this has devastated him at the beginning of the book. But as soon as the move that this causes is over, this never really comes up again. Chris is really concerned about people knowing about his burgeoning relationship with Peter; then, a chapter end happens and its all suddenly okay. There are fairly homophobic characters that fizzle. There are potential abandonment, in but out of the closet issues that could have provided some spice. Nothing. I realize that romance is supposed to be escapist, but this one has a lot of loose ends that really could have made this book come together into something stronger.
This is the first in the series. Maybe Harris will find her sea legs when it comes to Holsum College, and the later offerings will flesh out the ideas that her books are rife with.
JMF Rating: 4/10
‘Til next time,
Note: This book was an ARC received from NetGalley.