Evan is in his final year of college and football has been a big part of it. He wanted to play professionally, but since that’s not going to happen, he needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life. But Evan has a good attitude and knows he’ll figure it out. He takes a step further out of his comfort zone when he agrees to pose as a fake boyfriend for an acquaintance’s project.
Mitch knows who Evan is, but the two have never spent any considerable time together. Mitch thinks that no one will believe that the hot football player, who Mitch thinks is straight, is really his boyfriend. Evan isn’t quite as straight as everyone thinks, but after some experimentation with a boy in high school had a disastrous outcome, he’s kept a low profile. Mitch feels incredibly right to Evan, but Mitch is out and comfortable with who he is and Evan will need to embrace who he is to make Mitch his for keeps.
Out in the End Zone follows Out in the Deep in Hayes’ Out in College series. While the timelines of the two books cross over each other, Evan and Mitch’s story could stand alone, though Derek and Gabe from the first book do make an appearance here.
I could see this book having appeal for a lot of readers, but it didn’t fully work for me and perhaps this author’s style isn’t the best match for me. Hayes uses a lot of clichés in her writing, I find the dialogue tired, and I would certainly be just fine with never hearing another Narnia reference for being in the closet.
The story is based upon Mitch asking Evan to be his “faux” boyfriend for a school project. While the fake boyfriend trope is not a favorite of mine, that aspect was mostly talked about but not seen as much. Evan has always been questioning his sexuality, but after a horrible incident occurred in high school, he kept that part of himself locked down. Evan isn’t all that interested in being in Mitch’s video project, but he is interested in spending time with him. The guys spend time asking each other questions to get to know each other, they talk about filming one video, but then the project itself is mostly off page. Then, the number of views the project receives becomes a catalyst and all of the pieces didn’t fit so well for me.
Hayes writes single POV in her books, but this one was too solidly in Evan’s POV. I never felt like I got to know Mitch at all. We are only told what Evan sees and tells us and that wasn’t a whole lot to get a sense of Mitch or to distinguish him from Evan. The guys do have some great chemistry even when there is uncertainty or hesitation, but for a shorter book, it felt too disjointed to fully enjoy that aspect.
This book is light and easy to read with almost no angst and this series as a whole has an appeal to it. Even reading the preview for the next book has me interested, but this book didn’t fully captivate me.