06 January 2015

Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.
There’s not a lot I can say about this book. Except to say that it had to be the longest book on record…or at least it felt like it. I’m a fast reader and can rip through a book in no time. I received this book to review on Oct 26th, and it’s December and I finally managed to reach the end. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was wrong with it—besides the fact I had to stop after each chapter because I just couldn’t handle the drudgery, until I had a little time away and could come back to it—but I’ve decided it comes down to too much info. There was a lot of nothing happening, or at least it felt like it. Maybe it was the fact the story was from Tom’s POV and he really has no personality. Reese has some personality, though still I feel no emotional connection to him. Or maybe because it felt like much ado about nothing.
As I was reading it, I described it to a friend as, “Oh, look, he went to drive a cab and nothing happened. And then he went back to school and nothing happened.” Things did happen, but they came across as so blah—with no emotional involvement between me the reader and the characters—that it felt like a chore getting through it.
Usually I like it when the author takes it slow when one character has emotional issues (and in this story all the characters are fractured in some way or another), but this story felt like it was a day-in/day-out log of information that made me yawn. Was it written well? Well, there weren’t a lot of typos or grammatical errors that I saw – and that’s a good thing. But I just never became attached to Tom or Reese. I found Tom’s uncouth friend Cash the most endearing of the bunch.
I gave it 3 stars because, as I mentioned, it was at least grammatical error free, but I cannot recommend it to anyone.


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