Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
You’ll always remember when you came out of the closet…for Shane, it’s a day he wishes he could forget. When Shane came stumbling out of the closet in front of his best friend, twin sister, and his archenemy (aka, his sister’s boyfriend, Trey), it had to be one of his most mortifying experiences, almost as bad as the day when Trey decided to give Shane a wedgie to beat all other wedgies after a field hockey game when they were sophomores. As if his life couldn’t get any worse, it does when he finds out that he will be roommates at college with none other than Trey.
As the two settle in to being roommates, Shane finds himself seeing Trey in a totally new light, one that has Shane in a state of constant arousal. As the two begin spending more time together, they begin to realize that their feelings for one another may destroy the one person who has always been there for Shane – his sister, June.
When we were presented the challenge of finding an enemies-to-lovers or friends-to-lovers story to review, I began scouring around to find you all one that was self-published, because I adore self-published stories. I stumbled on this series of enemies to lovers by Anyta Sunday, a new to me author.
As this story unfolds, I found myself torn between wanting to laugh out loud and empathizing with the absolute mortification over how Shane outs himself. If this doesn’t endear readers to Shane right off the start, I don’t know what will. Told in Shane’s point of view, his thoughts are quite comical as he navigates his way into adulthood and college life. I thought it gave the story an authentic feel as we see Shane struggle with being on his own, separated (at least somewhat) from his twin sister, dealing with a roommate that he’s held a long standing grudge with, and dealing with his sexuality.
Trey is nothing like what Shane was expecting. Though he’s heard his sister’s praise of how wonderful Trey is, Shane can’t get over the humiliation of Trey giving him a wedgie after the field hockey game. Now, being forced to room with him, Shane is in a state of panic that the big lug will go all homophobic on him now that his secret is out. What he wasn’t expecting was for Trey to want the two of them to be friends.
In this slow burning romance story, Shane realizes that Trey may not be the dumb jock on a sports scholarship that he thought, and he realizes that Trey may not be as straight as he pretends to be either. As the two begin experimenting with one another, Shane realizes that someone is bound to get hurt – either Shane or his sister.
What I liked best about this story was that the angst in the story mainly centered around Shane and Trey’s families. Neither family is perfect. Each has its flaws, but what family doesn’t? I think this far-from-perfect home life will appeal to younger readers who want to read something that feels similar enough to their own situations. I particularly appreciated how the author didn’t sugar-coat June’s reaction to losing her boyfriend to her gay brother. While, as adults, we tend to “get” that if the guy is gay, there isn’t anything we can do about it, whereas for teenagers and young adults, they tend to take this type of rejection personally and there are a lot of hurt feelings over it. So I really liked seeing that in the story.
I also liked that this story, while it had some heat, wasn’t erotic by any means. Again, I think it had just the right amount of spice to interest the young adult readers. I also liked that Shane had some difficulties controlling himself below the belt.
This story also features Shane’s friend, Syd. Syd and Shane meet on the first day at college and, after realizing they have no spark, settle into becoming friends. What I liked about this character was that he begins dating a guy who is HIV positive and struggles with his feelings for this guy and his fears about the disease. Again, this author brought authenticity into her book by bringing to light an issue college age students deal with as they begin to explore their sexuality.
My one complaint about this book was that it is billed as an enemies to lovers story. While I understand adolescents tend to hold long standing grudges over what we, as adults, see as something relatively minor bullying – I, as a reader, would have liked to have seen there have been something more significant than just a single incident between these two to warrant this intense hatred Shane had towards Trey at first.
Overall, I really liked this story – so much that I am reading the other books in her Enemies to Lovers series and will hopefully be bringing those to you all soon! If you love a good young adult story with an authentic feel to it, you may want to check this one out!
This does sound good, Wendy, so thanks for the review. I see that the author is a New Zealander who has lived in America and Germany. Where is the book set?
The story never really tells you where it is set. I assumed somewhere in the US, but I suppose it could very well have been in Australia.
Wow! this sounds really interesting, very convoluted, what with falling for your enemy who happens to be your sister’s boyfriend…. Another interesting addition to my TBR list, thank you, Wendy! 😉
I haven’t read any books by this author I must check this book out.