Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

The Understatement of the Year Synopsis: 

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexual orientation from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.

Buy Links:

Other books in the series:

#1 The Year We Fell Down (March 2014)

#2 The Year We Hid Away (June 2014)

#2.5 Blonde Date (July 2014)

#3 The Understatement of the Year (October 2st, 2014)

What I thought about The Understatement of the Year

Michael Graham has been living a lie, hiding behind a whole lot of denial and guilt. But when John Rikker walks into the locker room, he knows the force field he lives behind won't hold up against his childhood friend. John is openly gay, having transferred to a new school after being outed by one of his classmates.

Graham and Rikker has history between them. A history of first sexual experiences, a devastating hate crime, and other losses that have shaped who they are at that moment. I just wanted to give John Rikker a hug -- his acceptance of his sexuality has cost him friends and family and he's the new kid at school and loney, and those feelings are compounded by Graham downright ignoring him and their past history. And I wanted to shake Graham more than once for his fears and denial. It made it the much sweeter when he starts to see things a different way.

A nasty hockey game at Rikker's old school shakes everything up, and the team must learn to deal with their own feelings about having the first openly gay player in their conference. Thank goodness they have their coach and captain to bring some sanity and words of wisdom to the players as they learn to deal. But it all just pushes Graham a little closer to looking at himself with acceptance and he finds it hard to keep denying his feelings toward Rikker.

It did seem to take quite a while for Graham to come around. It's a gradual process for him and he's still afraid to be true to himself until an accident on the ice gives him another push to coming out. Things really started picking up then, with some great scenes with Rikker and Graham's mother.

I really liked this coming out story, and especially how the hockey team was set as the backdrop. I couldn't think of a better day to post my review than National Coming Out Day.

Sarina Bowen Bio: 

Sarina Bowen makes her home in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where she lives with her family, eight chickens and a large pile of skis and hockey equipment. She is a graduate of Yale University.  


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