This was the perfect balance that left me incomplete. Usually, I either get stories of characters wide open and out of the closet and others where characters accept that they are gay and try to find ways to get out of said closet. This go, we had an open gay who wasn't ready and one who can't say the word. No. He isn't mute.
Graham is so deep in the closet that you might need a 100ft rope to get him out. His theories were half sad and half hilarious because of the details placed in every day things like the colour of his sheets o.O
I can't imagine anyone putting in the time and logic that Graham used to keep that closet door close but it made for an interesting story to get the views of a self-loathing gay. It also gave the story another mystery because you leave not knowing if it was the traumatic event as a teen or society's views that made him a paranoid alcoholic for the most part of this story.
Then we have Rikker, who should be the paranoid drunk, but instead is the poster boy for 'gay but manly all the same'. He isn't shopping, sipping cosmos and gossiping. You just don't need glaringly obvious reminders that he's gay. It's who he is. He was funny, scratch that, he was hilarious! He took everything in stride and flipped Big-D's comments when necessary.
I hate spoilers and I hope this isn't one for someone, but you really do wait until the very end for any revealing scenes. Then, I was left with so much unsaid and unresolved that I wonder if I got the complete novel and if perchance, book 4 will answer some of the questions I now have.
M/M romance novels normally carry the hot and angry sex scenes but this is 'The Ivy Years' series, so blow by blow sex scenes were bypassed for a steamy build up and a little cuddling after.
This novel was the most hockey based novel in the series, but I still didn't feel overwhelmed, so that's a plus. Unfortunately, due to Graham's phobia of his sexual orientation and all the time spent on the ice, we hardly spent any personal time with Rikker and Graham as a couple.
Sometimes, the story even dragged because we were stuck in the back and forth that is Graham's mind. Then came the really fast crescendo that began and ended before we could blink. I am now anxious to know what happens next and it's not even me being greedy, it's just that a whole new world now awaits.
Sarina Bowen has never been afraid to tackle major issues and this was no different. There is more to this novel than "coming out" and I think that's why the end left me feeling incomplete. There were also a few more grammatical errors than I am used to from a Sarina Bowen novel but I'll just chalk that up to it being an ARC. A purchased copy should have less grammatical errors. I hope.
Still, it wasn't enough to deter me and my interest was captured and held until the end. There is drama, lessons, fun, friendship, first love and acceptance all wrapped in two Harkness Hockey jackets.