Series: States of Love
Author: Rhett Heath
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 69 Pages
At a Glance: I love this first love, first romance, coming-of-age type book. And, the guys really were adorable. I just wish there had been more to the story.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: For fourteen-year-old Jacob Thomas, a Christian and the smartest kid in class, Bobby Versailles is completely out of reach. Jacob wishes a girl named Allie loved him because he still doesn’t get that he’s gay, but he always keeps his eyes peeled at school, hoping to catch a glimpse of Bobby.
It’s Bobby Versailles’s senior year. Captain of his high school football team, he’s bound to win Homecoming King and hopefully a state championship, but he’s been miserable for years. His fear of somebody finding out he’s gay has brought isolation and loneliness. He has hidden that he’s gay by going on dates with girls now and then, and also by working out and excelling at football—which has also helped teachers look past his learning difficulties. When he first eyes Jacob, it’s possibly love at first sight. Bobby becomes a little obsessed. Jacob has got to be gay, and when Bobby makes a move, both of their worlds turn upside down!
It’s 1982, and while the Nebraska Cornhuskers are barreling toward a possible NCAA National Football Championship, everyone in a small town two hours away hopes Bobby can lead them to a state championship. Can two teens with vastly different lives find love amidst the fervor of Nebraska football?
Review: Damn, you guys, I wanted to have a ton of wonderful things to say about this book. And, look, there are some nice things to be said about it, and I’ll say them…but, for the most part, Jupiter felt like a lot of missed potential. Rhett Heath kept things on a very surface level for just about every aspect of the story. It’s very short, safe, and lacking a ton of depth. Jacob and Bobby were both lovely, and I was definitely rooting for them to find happiness, but I wish the relationship had been developed past them trying to figure out where the next blowjobs could happen. Speaking of which… I was also shocked at how much on-page sex there was, given the fact that one of the characters is only fourteen. If the author wasn’t aiming this at a YA audience, there should be a note that it contains graphic scenes of a sexual nature between a fourteen-year-old and a seventeen-year-old so that adults picking it up could decide if that’s something they’re comfortable reading. And, if the author WAS intending this book to be for a YA audience, then it should have been edited and marketed as such by Harmony Ink Press. I’m not one to police anyone’s reading, or even get super fired up about trigger warnings—though, some things should always be noted—but, as someone with teen boys in my life, I absolutely would have passed on this book if I knew that it was seventy-five percent sex scenes involving a high school freshman. That being said, on some level it’s good to have books like this out there. I’m sure there are a lot of gay teen boys who would love to know that there is a book out there telling this story, possibly telling their story. But, I have no idea if the sex is too graphic to be approved by a YA library. I don’t know what those guidelines are.
Also, I think the author could have done a much better job giving the reader a sense of Nebraska. Other than it being mentioned that they’re from a small town and that they’re Cornhusker fans, I’m not sure why the story is in the States of Love collection. Most of the other books in the series feature the starring state much more prominently. It’s not a major issue, obviously, but I was a tad disappointed.
So, I did like the characters. Jacob is extremely sweet, bright, and earnest. His Christian upbringing has him pretty freaked out about possibly going to hell for being gay, but not freaked out enough to stay away from his dream guy, Bobby Versailles! And, Bobby is just a total love. His infatuation and just utter puppy love for Jacob is beyond cute. I did think some of their reactions and inner monologuing were a bit over-the-top, but I loved how genuine their feelings for each other were, and how insanely happy and lucky they felt to have found each other.
Books like this are important. This kind of representation for gay teens is so important. I love this first love, first romance, coming-of-age type book. And, the guys really were adorable. I just wish there had been more to the story. It was definitely lacking that special something I was hoping to find when I opened it.
You can buy Jupiter here:
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