Ten years after graduation, Jake "the jock" Campbell and Brandon "the nerd" Bartlett are teaching at their old high school and still living in separate worlds. When Brandon is thrown into a coaching job on Jake's baseball team, they find themselves learning more about each other than they'd ever expected. High school is all about image – even for the teachers. Brandon and Jake have to get past their preconceived notions to find the friendship needed to work together. And somewhere along the way, they discover that perceptions can always change for the better.
I picked this book up because I have seen it everywhere on Favorite Male Male Romance books.
I can see why its is so popular. Parts of the love story and topics are really great and thoughtful but some of the basics of the writing and the romance genre aspects are rough.
The heroes have that opposites attract mojo going on. I love that Brandon and Jake are both teachers and love their work with students. The slow burn of the romantic connections is well done and the relationship is sweet. However, we get a HFN and I wanted more really.
The book takes a thoughtful look at high school cliques and politics at the teacher and student levels. The thinking about coaching and also extra work of tutoring is compelling as is the hard work of student be they athletes or academic high achievers.
The writers also look at the damage high school and college athletics do to the body and we venture into pain pill addiction but the hard work recovery is left for after the book ends and that was disappointing.
Not so good:
Some of the side characters are interesting but all the women are not drawn with complexity. The changing of pov are pretty awful and hard to track who is thinking and the third person subjective point of view is.... not working.
So, I like a lot of it but think the over book hints at these writers desire to write something romantic but not romance and in more of a long running series which is what happens later.