Author: Sara Winters
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN 13: NA
Summary: Kurt Dennings learned one life lesson the hard way: love, even between a parent and child, is not always unconditional. After coming out and experiencing a painful rejection from his parents and friends, Kurt feels as if he’s lost everything that mattered.
James Theard comes into Kurt’s life when he needs someone the most. A friend first and boyfriend second, James becomes his shoulder to lean on, a voice of reason and helps Kurt learn he is stronger and more capable than he imagined.
Review: Good heavens, poor Kurt. You want to scoop him up and hug him. He wants to be accepted for who he is, and though he knows his father will have issue with it, he has hope for his mother. That isn’t to be when he leaves a carefully worded letter explaining he is gay. To make it worse, not only do his parents reject him, but his two closest friends, who he thinks will be in his corner and convince his parents he is the same son he was before, also reject him. Devastating at any age, but a freshman in college, just on his own for the first time? Awful.
Kurt is a member of the swim team and he is floundering, as would be expected when your life is in upheaval like that. The Coach directs a senior member, James, to help him out. There may be a double reason why Coach wants James to help Kurt. James has been where Kurt is now, gay, rejected and afraid of failing the team. Coach helped James, James will help Kurt.
Kurt has additional baggage with him – his first sexual experience was with a user, and the second was with an abuser. Kurt has a lot to get over before he can become whole. James is patient, and wants only Kurt’s best. Sometimes, Kurt acts like an ass (for example, he gets angry at James for things such as suggesting counseling) but he is trying to work through things by avoiding them. He needs a nudge sometimes.
One disappointment for me was that as the story progressed the swimming seemed to take a back seat. It’s very prominent in the first part, and then relegated to very back. It comes up briefly but only really as a way for Kurt’s mom to come up. As a swimming fan, I would have enjoyed that focus. But there is a lot for Kurt to deal with, so we focus on that. James, that man is a saint, honestly. James’ friend Blake comes across as a doofus and yet I really liked him as well. He’s just funny, honest and in James’ face about things.
I thought his parents were realistically portrayed (unfortunately for those who thought they were loved unconditionally) and mom especially, gravitating from one end to the other, trying to find a balance, was a true life character. Kurt is so lucky to have James, and James is lucky to have Kurt. Recommended.