Monday, July 15, 2019

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Rating: ★★  | 8 hours 4 min. | Sports Romance | Self-Pub | Release Date: 7/28/2015
I enjoy the occasional hockey romance even though my knowledge of hockey goes as far as this Chance The Rapper sketch on SNL and that Twitter thread where a Black guy discovered hockey. I was scrolling through Audible and just started listening to everything on my accounts and Him just fit the mood I was in for some reason.

Ryan “Wes” Wesley and Jamie Canning were inseparable during their summers at an elite Lake Placid hockey training camp, until an incident the summer before they go off college break their bond. Now it’s 4 years later and the former best friends are spending the summer in Lake Placid--this time as coaches. The former friends relitigate their past and rekindle their friendship into something with a lot more heat,

I think a big part of my enjoyment for this book came from the audio. I’ve praised Teddy Hamilton and Jacob Morgan narrations on previous books but together they give a performance that makes this story feel lived in and real. Hamilton nails Jamie’s earnest California cool and Morgan is so good at Wes’ bristly, playboy confidence. Teddy Hamilton has a fairly young voice that I think works great for NA but I have no idea how Jacob Morgan isn’t doing ALL the books.

Going in I was a little concerned this might be a Gay For You story because in the beginning Wes is gay and Jamie identifies as straight and this book came out a few years ago when that kind of thing was common. However, this book doesn’t go into that and Jamie gets a full story about discovering his sexuality and eventually identifying as bisexual.

There are a few microaggressions in this book I wish had been handled better. At one point two of the teen players are fighting and use the racial slur for Asian people and a slur for gay people. Wes reprimands the boys, but they don’t treat the racial slur as having the same gravity as the gay slur. Also, there is a glib comment about the pro hockey team being in hot water for not being diverse enough that kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I probably don’t need to tell anyone reading this review to check out Sarina Bowen or Elle Kennedy because they are romance powerhouses, but definitely give the audiobook a listen!

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