“In every school I’ve gone to, all the athletic bastards stick together.” ― J.D. Salinger
Author: Wade Kelly
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Audio Length: 9 Hours, 21 Minutes
Story Rating: 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way.
Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother?
By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a “jock”!
During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.
Review: I’m going to let the blurb speak for itself in the set up of My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap!, and start with my thoughts about Cole.
Let’s start with how he was outed in high school. You’ve gotta admit it was pretty embarrassing, as well as traumatizing, for a young man to be outed the way he was, in the locker room full of jocks. Not to mention how his supposed friends, and his father, treated him after he was “found out”. Then to top things off, the bullying he endured during high school, how he dealt with the bullying…if you don’t cry, they get bored and leave you alone. Show no emotion. Don’t show that they’re hurting you. Yes, I suppose building a mental wall around himself and developing a pessimistic attitude would protect him. Cole believes that Murphy’s Law particularly pertains to him: “Anything that can go wrong, will.”
While reading My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap!, I got the feeling that even though Cole tries pushing everyone away, secretly he wants nothing more than to be accepted and loved for himself. (Isn’t that everyone’s secret desire?) So when Jonathon, his college roommate (the one person Cole has let in his sphere), graduates and moves out, poor Cole is in a panic and does everything possible in my view to avoid replacing his best friend with just another boarder. He nitpicks everyone who considers the apartment, while trying to find another Jonathon to share it with. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. At this point, Stan, who runs the housing department, finally forces Cole to accept the roommate that he has chosen to share the apartment.
Now’s the time to talk about the title, My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap!
Enter soccer player, Ellis Montgomery (the new roommate), with his friends and fellow players, Rob and Russell. Ellis is a bit of a surprise to Cole. Not only is Cole attracted to this straight jock, but Ellis (after a talk with Jonathon) refuses to be put off by Cole’s cynical standoffish attitude. You’d think there’d be some angst between these two, but what happens is Ellis starts to drag Cole into his sphere of close friends, so when Ellis eventually finds out that Cole is gay, instead of the dreaded expected rejection, Ellis kisses him…
Damned if this doesn’t lead to some confusion on Cole’s part. Is Ellis gay or straight? Hard to tell with a virgin who doesn’t know what he wants and is having a sexual identity crisis.
Since I have a long commute, I miss out on a lot of reading time and have become a huge fan of audio books. My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! has been sitting on my shelf for ages, so when I saw it had come out in audio, I figured this was a great way to finally have someone else do all the work in telling this story. Buuut, I was a little reluctant. I’d tried earlier audio books from this publisher before and found their narrators lacking in emotion. In other words, a great story was ruined by an unemotional drone-like voice. I would rather endure eyestrain than take a chance of falling asleep behind the wheel of my car. I’m so glad to hear they’ve improved and have found better narrators!
Jason Lovett, if I were to score his performance from a 1-10, would give him a 7, just for the fact that there was actually emotion thrown in. My only complaint about his reading was that there wasn’t much difference in tones or timbre when it came to other voice characters portrayed in the story. He did do a great job when it came to Cole’s voice, though! I could actually visualize Cole as he was speaking: annoying, cynical, whiny! LOL. But if you listen really carefully, you can hear the hurt too. Another plus in his favor was the storyline flowed with appropriate pauses.
I found myself so captivated by the story that at the end of my journey, whether I made it to work or home, I would bring out the book to continue with it where I had left off, then listened to those parts again when I got back into my car. The only difference between reading and listening is that there was the enhancement of the characters and situations in the listening, compared to what my sometimes poor, tired imagination could come up with while reading.
All in all, I really enjoyed My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! There were situations I could strongly relate too and actually had moments when I would feel a slight tightening in my chest when it came to certain angsty parts. Being slightly anal retentive myself, I found myself chuckling at some of the situations that Cole found himself in.
I also enjoyed the secondary character, Rob. I like his quote:
“I don’t think sin is as black and white as people want it to be. I think sin comes in an array of colors, and one of them is so bright that it blinds us to our ability to love. And if I don’t think I can love you just because you’re gay, then Satan wins; because without Love, the only color left is Hate.”
I was also touched by what Rob did for Cole towards the end of the story, even though Cole didn’t appreciate it right away, until he found out why.
Sure, there were parts of the story that kind of hopped around a bit. Realistically, though, it had some really good points about coming-of-age, friendships, and especially when it comes to stereotyping. The sign of a great book is when it causes you to reminisce, pause, feel, and think.
Would I read or listen to another Wade Kelly book?
Hell yes! In a heartbeat, I would!
~Imaginary drum roll, please~
Storyline, characterization, writing rating of My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap!: A 5 star!
Rating for the narration of the audio version: 4 Stars!