Rating: 3 stars
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Tyler Morris has not had an easy life. Growing up in a home where his brother ran away at an early age and his father abused him caused Tyler to be angry early on. After the physical abuse was discovered, he was placed in foster care. At age fifteen, Tyler had the chance to attend a charity boxing camp led by Jamie Lewis, a champion boxer, that changed his life and probably saved his life as well. Since that time, Tyler has focused on little else but becoming a professional boxer. After ten years, he still looks up to Jamie and thinks the only way to achieve his goals of professional boxing is to find a way to convince Jamie to train him.
Jamie Lewis is one of the most sought after trainers in boxing. He has a busy schedule and isn’t looking for any new fighters, although Jamie does remember Tyler from the charity camp he taught years ago. Going against his better judgment, Jamie gives Tyler the chance to prove himself in the ring. When Jamie sees Tyler’s potential and signs him as a boxer, Jamie knows his problems have just begun It’s not a secret in the world of boxing that Jamie is gay. But he’s made it a rule not to mix business with pleasure. When his immediate attraction to Tyler only gets stronger, Jamie has to make a decision whether he wants to break the rules or keep denying himself the one person he is sure would change his life.
Tyler has had a crush on Jamie for ten years, but is afraid to move past that point. He’s afraid that he’s reading more into the looks Jamie has been giving him than is really there. Not only does he not have a lot experience having sex with a man, but he’s not sure he wants to cross the professional life/personal life boundary. Opening himself up to anyone has proven painful in the past and Tyler is not sure if he’s willing to open up to the possibility of getting hurt emotionally again.
Knockout is a story of two men brought together professionally and personally by the common interest they share in boxing with several ups and downs along the way. It has a good storyline; a man who suffered a brutal past struggles through life to make it to the top and finds love along the way. I only wish there would have been a little more to the story. Most of the book was the inner monologue of either Jamie or Tyler, which wasn’t all bad. Some of the monologue added to the histories of the characters and the plot, but some of it was extremely repetitive. It made for a slow progression of events and also made it more difficult to read. Maybe if more dialogue would have been added it would have helped.
Both Jamie and Tyler were a lot alike. Jamie is older than Tyler and seems to have gone through what Tyler is going through now. They both had an abusive background and moved past it to make something of themselves. There were small details that were different in their lives, but it almost felt like I was reading two people with the same personality. They both seemed to be afraid of the same things at the same time. They both had a hard time discussing their feelings. And they both had a hard time fighting for what they wanted out of their relationship. I would have liked a little more diversity. I can say that I did like that since Tyler was the younger of the two and was still fighting through his past, he seemed a little more imperfect and vulnerable at times.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad story. I actually liked the idea behind it. But with the repetitiveness of the monologues and the character’s personality similarities, the story felt a little flat.
Cover: The cover by Anne Cain is actually what attracted me to this book before I even read the blurb. It is a beautiful cover that represents the characters and the basics of the story well.