Harris, Daisy. College Boys. Siren Publishing, May 2012.
Daisy Harris, I think it is safe to say, gets it – gets what the readers of this sort of erotic male romance are looking for when they pick up a book. Her characters are sweet and endearing. Soccer jock Chris Fisher, trying to find the space to deal with his mother’s recent death and his own transition from small-town boy to college student, has moved away from the dorm space he’s been sharing with several teammates to a small single room on the other side of campus. No one warns him, though, that the ways in his new living space are thin, so thin that he can hear his new neighbor’s every move and word. Enter Peter Cohen, the new neighbor in question. Openly gay, Peter is an active member of campus gay life, including membership on the Queer Student Council. He’s out and he’s definitely not willing to hide or deny who he is, not even for the hunky soccer player next door.
It would be easy for this story to devolve into tropes and stereotypes, but Harris keeps it fresh and interesting (and nicely steamy). Chris’s struggles to deal with not only his own growing feelings for Peter but with what those feelings mean for his life outside their joined dorm spaces avoid melodrama and capture well the self-reflection and self-doubt that are so a part of figuring out your place in the world as a young adult. Peter too must consider his own values and ideas, about what it means to be yourself and how to be supportive when a friend is trying to find his way through a maze of morals and preconceptions toward personal discovery. Along the way, both Chris and Peter figure out new things about not only their growing relationship but about themselves. And, perhaps most appealing in this novel is that the sex isn’t perfect. It’s awkward at times, the guys are unsure and a bit insecure, and they don’t jump immediately into intercourse in their first intimate encounter. Instead, Harris builds heat and tension, letting the sexuality evolve as the characters grow closer naturally.
Delicious steamy and with a rich authenticity of character and voice, College Boys is a great downtime read. And, as College Boys is only a part of Harris’s Holsum College series, I have to say I greatly look forward to reading more.
Reading copy received from NetGalley.