4.5 stars Angst Level Baseball Book coming of age Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index High but not hopeless High School Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Soccer Virgin young adult

Guyliner by j. leigh bailey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents





Seventeen-year-old Connor works his butt off to maintain the golden-boy persona he’s created. He has the grades, the extracurriculars, the athletics, and a part-time job at his dad’s shop… every detail specifically chosen to ensure the college scholarships he needs to get the hell out of the Podunk town where he lives. The last thing he needs is an unexpected attraction to Graham, an eyeliner-wearing soccer phenom from St. Louis, who makes him question his goals and his sexuality. Sure, he’s noticed good-looking boys before—that doesn’t have to mean anything, right?—but he’s got a girlfriend. There’s no room on the agenda for hooking up with Graham, but the heart doesn’t always follow the rules.

As he and Graham grow close, other aspects of Connor’s life fall apart. Family pressure, bad luck, and rumors threaten to derail his carefully laid plans. Suddenly the future he’s fighting for doesn’t seem quite as alluring, especially if he has to deny who he really is to achieve it.


This is a surprisingly sweet and sometimes emotional YA story about two guys in a rural town who find hope and love with each other. It doesn’t pretend to predict the future or even hint that these guys make it past graduation as a couple, and for that I applaud the author while at the same time my romantic soul weeps a bit.

I found the slow burn way that Connor moved into acceptance of his newfound “gayness” to be authentic and I thought Graham’s story was really, really powerful.

I thought the “steam” was appropriate for this audience (virtually no steam) and the drama was kept to a respectable amount (outside of Graham’s story, which was so, very sad.)

I enjoyed the secondary characters and really, really loved Graham. I hope we see these guys in a future work, but I’ve no idea if this is a series or a one-off.

Highly recommended for YA fans, but if you’re looking for something more “adult” keep looking.  I think Connor’s journey took a front seat to the romance, but it was an important story to tell.

4.25 of 5 stars


Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

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