by Jenny Holiday
Series: Famous #2
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: November 27, 2017
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
All that up-and-coming musician Jesse Jamison has ever wanted is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. When a gossip website nearly catches him kissing someone who isn’t his famous girlfriend—and also isn’t a girl—he considers the near miss a wake-up call. There’s a lot riding on his image as the super-straight rocker, and if he wants to realize his dreams, he’ll need to toe the line. Luckily, he’s into women too. Problem solved.
After a decade pretending to be his ex’s roommate, pediatrician Hunter Wyatt is done hiding. He might not know how to date in the Grindr world, how to make friends in a strange city, or whether his new job in Toronto is a mistake. But he does know that no one is worth the closet. Not even the world’s sexiest rock star.
As Jesse’s charity work at Hunter’s hospital brings the two closer together, a bromance develops. Soon, Hunter is all Jesse can think about. But when it comes down to a choice between Hunter and his career, he’s not sure he’s brave enough to follow his heart.
This book is, quite simply, adorable. Both Jesse and Hunter are refreshingly sweet, kind, good people, and reading this book felt like curling up under a fluffy blanket.
The two are, on the surface, complete opposites, but underneath are both caring, thoughtful men. Jesse is your typical rock star, dressing in jeans and band T-shirts. Hunter dresses impeccably, wearing a shirt and tie every day under his doctor’s coat, and when invited to spend the weekend at Jesse’s cabin with his band, dresses like he “packed for brunch in the Hamptons rather than slumming it with a rock band.” While they seem like they should have nothing in common, they are both invested in presenting a certain image to the world and understand how deviating from that could hurt them.
I was a bit worried about the whole “Jesse in the closet” thing – so often these turn into very, very painful experiences for both the characters and the reader – but I thought it was handled well. While Hunter realizes rather quickly that his feelings for Jesse go beyond friendship – “no crushes on straight guys” is something he says to himself more than once – Jesse is more confused and conflicted about how he feels for Hunter. It’s not shame, thank goodness, that keeps him from acknowledging and acting on his feelings, but rather fear of ruining his carefully cultivated bad-boy image and losing everything he and his band have worked years for. And despite his expansive hook-up history, Jesse has basically no experience being in an actual relationship or in love, while Hunter was involved in a years-long closeted relationship. Even without much experience, though, Jesse realizes that getting involved with Hunter secretly would be seriously harmful and just wrong.
“I just want someone awesome to love me—publicly.[…] Is that too much to ask?”
Also – consent done right! While Jesse is bi, he hasn’t had much sexual experience with men, and Hunter adorably – and sexily – keeps checking that everything they’re doing is OK. With all the current conversation on verifying consent, it was lovely to see it so well done.
As for cons, without going into spoilers, when Hunter fears that Jesse will refuse to acknowledge any sort of relationship between them, he does something that felt completely out of the blue unexpected, and something that could have had life-altering consequences seemingly on a whim. It’s not that it was something that I saw as out-of-character for Hunter, just that it felt like that particular choice was made in reaction to Jesse’s betrayal and not for any other reasons.
Overall, I just cannot get over how adorably sweet this book was. After finishing it, I walked around for the rest of the day with a smile on my face. So, if you’re looking for the perfect antidote to 2017, this book is for you!