Smart, shy Prescott sophomore Brandon Mills is working hard to overcome his troubled past and be normal. With the help of his friends Mark and Deacon, and his brothers at Phi Sigma Kappa, he’s slowly coming out of his shell. But when he accidentally drenches a freshman in orange soda, he faces something he’s not ready for: a boy crushing on him.
Alex Kekoa pledges Phi Sig because it has everything he wants: a house full of nerds who won’t tease him for being smart, a dog, and Brandon Mills. Brandon is just the type of guy Alex needs to help fulfill his college ambition: losing his virginity. Except Alex doesn’t know that Brandon can’t stand to touch or be touched.
When Alex and Brandon are drafted onto the Phi Sig Academic Challenge team, their mutual attraction grows. If there’s anyone who can help Brandon discover it feels good to touch and kiss, maybe it’s klutzy Alex with his cute glasses and his dinosaur obsession. But as the competition–and their relationship–heats up, Alex’s determination not to die a virgin clashes with Brandon’s vow of lifelong celibacy, forcing them to examine what’s truly important to each of them about love.
Brandon Mills (best friend of Mark who we met in book one) is a shy, nerd, who loves dinosaurs, has an eidetic memory and a really, really crappy childhood.
Alex Kekoa is a giant nerd who also loves dinosaurs, has had a sunny childhood, is totally infatuated with Brandon, and is also a virgin (thus the title).
Alex joins Brandon’s frat just to be near him (and because it suits his style and brain). When he – in a fit of passion- kisses Brandon, it sets loose all sorts of thoughts and feelings in Brandon he didn’t know he had and definitely doesn’t know how to process.
First there’s the whole “gay” thing – which he doesn’t really identify as, but isn’t the biggest thing. The biggest thing is the touching. Brandon doesn’t touch anyone. Not even himself.
Most of the book takes place in Brandon’s head. Figuring things out. Trying to remember to forget. Trying to learn how to be new. Using the hair-brained but wonderful advice of his kooky and sometimes high friend, Mark.
Alex is the most gentle and unassuming soul you could meet, exactly what someone with Brandon’s history needs.
Add into the mix Blake and his contributions to the LGBTQ association as well as Mark and Deacon’s continued coupledom and you have a delightful mix of the quirky and funny with the sentimental, tender and sometimes painful.
I couldn’t put this book down! I only skimmed book one. And only after I read this. Book one has some elements that I am uncomfortable with… so I just got the highlights. But… I do love Mark and Deacon as a couple and I enjoyed reading about them before they were a couple.
Brandon is so heart-breaking in this story. Gah! He tries so hard and does everything right but sometimes that still isn’t enough, is it? Alex is a wonderful boyfriend and together, the two of them exploring their feelings – it was so sickly sweet and funny and most of the time it felt really REAL.
I guess that reality is what makes me knock this down from a perfect 5 star book to a 4.5. I wanted and really hoped for Brandon and Alex to remain a couple – FOREVER and we get hints that they might… but no guarantees. In fact, I could honestly say that I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t… just by the way their relationship to this point was handled. (When they do finally make it to boyfriend status, I never quite got the feeling from Brandon that he was as invested as Alex… but that could just be me.)
Anyhow – I loved how the first-time-sex scene was handled and thought it felt really authentic. Messy, imperfect and wonderful. I loved how Brandon grew, but not in a “fairy tale it all goes away” way. Again, that felt very authentic.
Blake is my absolute hero. I lurves him so much! He was so genuine and wonderful and such a tremendous ALLY! What a great way to view the world and what a nice way to open that discussion – gays in sports.
All in all this was a fun (sometimes), heartbreaking (sometimes), full of feels (all the times) and very well written book.
This writing duo makes for awesome character development and I can’t wait to see what they come up with for book three (which Lisa Henry has said is currently in the works!)
So… I highly recommend this to lovers of the v-card, college boy fans, anyone who loves a hard-childhood story and lovers of dinosaurs everywhere!
Joel Leslie is Frickin’ awesome! I’m so glad the authors chose him since he can do such a wide array of characters! There are so many unique voices and accents and Joel does them all – so wonderfully!
I adored this and his narration and … him!
5 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review