Since the first book in this series was passable I figured I’d go along and read the second. It started off okayish. But it quickly sank into something that didn’t quite live up to expectations. Basically, it was more of the same as the first except this one had even more chances to be gritty deep and interesting while still being hilarious and erotic at the same time and missed them as well.
Cody starts off just being mean. I actually like him the most and he isn’t that likeable. Mean isn’t a bad thing per se but when coupled with his ignorance about his injuries it became too hard to get on board with. No man that hard-up on not being what he used to be wouldn’t do all he could to get that life back. It was hard to fall in line with his anger when he routinely did things to make him permanently damaged just to prove a point.
Something about his sheer determination to act like he was pain-free when everyone could see he wasn’t didn’t gel well with his mental state. I dunno. The way he was written with the back story he was given didn’t fit his actions. I honestly only started to like him when the sex started happening. My biggest gripe with that, of course, was constantly saying he wants consent but never waiting for it. Eye roll. But at least the sexual Cody phase was interesting.
The real reason I liked Cody was that I could not like the other guy any less than I did. So it was like by default. This other main character made zero sense to me. Me being someone raised in church around the type of ministers who are never going to marry a gay couple to this day, his justifications for trying to be good held little weight when his father had done so and was actively preaching about everyone being equal. And doing all this in a predominantly Christian small town. And yep, no one seems to care about homosexuality at all. So more of the same unbelievable acceptance in a small southern town as the first book since it’s the same town after all. This made his dad unrelatable as well but the real issue is all the evidence points to Trey not having to stress over this especially since he’s out. It’s perfectly reasonable for him to date someone even if it’s the wrong someone.
His monologue while laying naked in bed after one particular adult moment was juvenile at best. This justification speech really took me out of the story and I was more than thrilled when Cody stalled it for another orgasm. Especially with Trey being an out gay boy. He really shouldn’t be thinking like this. And if he must, can’t he think about it on a level that fits his age? I definitely got teen vibes from all his monologues/speeches. I skimmed most of Trey’s internal monologues because they were annoying and didn’t make sense with who he actually was. He’d have to be someone in completely different circumstances. Something like having a control-freak father who doesn’t like gays and is a Christian fanatic for me to buy Trey’s thought process. And most importantly, he would have to be not out.
Trey’s dilemma with his sexual desires and being a Christian didn’t hold weight. His belief that his father had changed seemed to be all in his head as well. There was no evidence of this so when the confrontation at the end of the book happened I couldn’t attach to it. Without any fights or discussions or obvious dealings with this idea that’s all it was. An idea.
Another downfall for this book is it wasn’t as funny as the first book.
Lastly, if I as a reader can somewhat sympathise with Cody, the way the town treats him is a little harsh. It’s like when it comes to being gossipy and standoffish they fit the small-town mould but when it comes to their outlook on homosexuality they are all peace and love wins. I honestly couldn’t make sense of this logic.
This book had a better plot set up than the first but didn’t deliver. It suffered from the same juvenile writing feel as the first one. Trying to be a serious in-depth read but not reaching it. And most of it I can’t remember because a lot of Trey’s ill-placed thought processes are still swimming in my head. There were so many places, dark and gritty places this book could’ve gone. Matched with the southern sass and humour found in the first book and this book would’ve been amazing. Sadly neither of those things happened so it was mostly aggravating, hard reading.
I guess I should’ve known better after the first book but after reading two books I’m finding a pattern of mature themes handled in rather immature ways packaged in unbelievable circumstances that require too much suspension of reality to enjoy to enjoy. I’ll probably start the third book only because I’m committed to finishing the series at this point but I definitely won’t be forcing a third read if it seems like it’s heading down the same not adult enough for its content tone path.