Story Rating: 3.75 stars
Audio Rating: 3 stars
Narrator: Mark Steadman
Length: 5 hours, 27 minutes
Dev got off to a rough start his first year away at school. He just wanted to keep his head down and get his studies done, but after being bullied in residence housing, he moved to an off campus apartment. Next door, he found Ewan. Dev is completely inexperienced and he and Ewan come to an agreement. Dev will help Ewan with his statistics and Ewan will help Dev check off the list of things he wants to learn in the bedroom.
After a rather awkward start, the guys start working through the list, while feelings start brewing from both sides. Neither guy thinks the other wants a relationship and they really need to figure this all out before all the items are checked off.
Practice Makes Perfect is a college, coming of age story and is appropriately titled. Dev is a studious guy and when he was bullied in housing, he moved next door to Ewan. After two rather awkward meetings, the guys come to an agreement where Ewan will help a virginal Dev check off his sexual-to-do-list while Dev will help Ewan with his studies.
The guys start regular study sessions where they systematically go through Dev’s list. Dev is organized and focused, yet eager to check items off of his list. Ewan is a bit more experienced than Dev, but when Dev fully immerses himself in the learning process and is incredibly receptive, Ewan feels things he wasn’t previously aware of. It doesn’t take long for the guys to fall for each other and both of them want more than just a friends-with-benefits arrangement. Neither of them thinks that the other wants more, but this area didn’t present itself as strongly for me. Sure Ewan had said he wasn’t looking for a relationship, but both of these guys were fairly clueless. The book completely centers around Dev getting the experience he wants and Ewan being all too pleased to comply until his feelings overwhelm him.
Ultimately the guys were cute together and after a misunderstanding that doesn’t last too long, they were on their way to as much of a HEA as can be reasonably expected for their age.
This is one of those books where the audio had a definite effect on my enjoyment of it. Mark Steadman had a pleasant voice at first and his British accent was appropriate for the setting. Ewan had a slight Scottish accent and the characters were distinct enough while talking, but then Ewan’s inner dialogue had the basic narrative voice with a British accent that was a noticeable conflict to his speaking voice. Mostly though, Steadman gave a matter-of-fact performance. This is a story of two college guys having lots of intimate encounters and Steadman sounded mostly uninterested in what he was reading most of the time. There was no excitement, minimal inflection, and the intimate scenes came off as clinical instead of offering a sense of the heated exploration these guys were said to be partaking in. As the performance went on, I began to like it less and less. The diction was not clear at times, he spoke too quickly at other times, there was no pause between chapters as one ran right into the next, and the voices of the female characters had a helium-like quality. I had not read this book or any of the others in the series and this performance did not ultimately engage me.