O’Malley Ramsey is an aspiring math teacher who reunites with his childhood best friend, Garrison Rook, at a girls-only Math Camp after four years of radio silence. They had a make out session in Garrison’s tree house the night of his high school graduation party, and just before Garrison was due to leave for his new college in Vancouver. Garrison confessed his confusion and long-standing attraction to O’Malley, who was out in high school, but Garrision had only ever dated girls. Lots and lots of them. He begged O’Malley to wait for him to come back at Christmas break and promised to keep in touch every day…and then Garrison didn’t call or come home for four years. The next time they meet is in the camp, where Garrison is a sports coach, and his younger sister, Emily, is a camper. This is an orchestrated experience that we learn Garrison set up so he could spend time with O’Malley.
Despite his misgivings, O’Malley allows Garrison to sweet talk him into a down-low relationship. Meanwhile, Garrison freaks out anytime someone figures out that he’s macking with O’Malley. It’s tough on O’Malley to accept being shoved in the closet, and yet, he’s always loved Garrison, so he accepts that coming out will be a slow process. With Garrison a new ball player on a triple-A team in Columbia, SC, and unwilling to be the first semi-pro player to be “out,” it may be a lifetime before they can be a couple in public. Is O’Malley willing to wait again?
This New Adult romance didn’t really grab me. The prose was stilted and hampered by mechanical issues, like missing words, commas, and other punctuation. I also found it to be repetitive, and generally predictable, with odd logic. Like, why would a top baseball prospect go to a college in the northwest? There’s no good baseball out there. There are literally tons of schools in the south that would have been better choices. And, why in the heck did he avoid coming home for Christmas for four years? As close as the family was written to be, that made zero sense. The hometown homophobia and hate crime issue felt overblown and excessive. Trigger warning: violence ensues. I also couldn’t understand why Garrison was allowed more than a month of hanging out a math camp in the heart of the baseball season.
The logical inconsistencies aside, O’Malley as a math whiz really didn’t come across to me. That he didn’t get any interviews for work seemed bizarre, as well. Garrison is a weak character, and I found myself not liking him very much, as a result. He has no intentions of coming out, even when Emily already accepts his big secret, and he has every reason to believe his parents will support him. All these added up to conveniences for plot-sake and it made for a lackluster read.