Title: Edge of Glory (Fadeaway: Book Two)
Author: John Goode
Publisher: Self-Published/Amazon KU
Length: 309 Pages
Category: Gay Fiction, New Adult
At a Glance: Edge of Glory is not just a worthy sequel but is also an outstanding second chapter in a series that comes highly recommended to you.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Now in college, Danny faces a whole slew of problems. Can he like guys and still play basketball? Can the guys on his team accept him for who he is? And what about Sam? Is he willing to give up him for the game? Follow Danny through his college years and the choice that will change his life forever.
Review: Please note that Edge of Glory is the second novel in the Fadeaway series by author John Goode. It is most definitely not a standalone novel, and I highly recommend reading the first, Going the Distance, before reading this review–not only because it will contain spoilers but also you will definitely want to know these characters from the very start. As the concise blurb states, Danny is now off to college, and the novel picks up with him in pre-season basketball camp where his rap as a drug user has preceded him. Never mind that the usage was a one off and spurred on by the fact that he needed a little medicinal help to actually attempt sex with his then girlfriend; the new team he is desperately trying to fit into is pissed and letting him know it. Even his best buddy and “big brother”, Nate, isn’t terribly happy with Danny. But it’s the black members of the team who see his get-out-of-jail-free card sentencing and lack of real punishment, other than constant drug testing, as a typical white man’s way of beating the rap.
It’s here that the first of many important social statements are nailed down in this incredible novel. Never preachy or judgmental, John Goode hits the nail square on the head by exposing the inequality that many African American males find in the judicial system every day. His teammates not so gently remind him that being a white boy definitely has its privileges. Unfortunately for Danny, that is not the only thing he is getting pressure about. The other would be the fact that he is the only freshman to be a starting player on the team, and some don’t believe he deserves it. Yes, the aces seem to be stacked pretty high against our MC from the start, but none will pressure him like his own fears about being outed as gay. However, in true Danny fashion, this guy stays the course and treats his teammates with respect while bringing his A-game. By the time the season starts, the players have a grudging respect for him, and he and Nate are back on solid ground.
Danny likes solid ground but rarely manages to stay there, for who should also be at college but Sam? Sam Parker, the boy who lit up the world for the very closeted Danny back in high school. Thus begins a journey that will lead to falling in love, deciding to remain in the closet, getting to the final four during March Madness, and nearly blowing everything Danny has worked so hard for. Along the way, Danny will acquire a manager, make more than his fair share of enemies and mistakes, and finally be forced to decide if he can really spend the rest of his life running from who he really is. He will mend the rift between him and his dad, fall head over heels in love, and nearly destroy that love before a sane voice of reason steps into his life to shake Danny awake to the reality of what is most important. Once again little gems of reason and wisdom will fall from the most unlikely of sources, and John Goode will use those moments to remind us all that the dreams we have may never see the light of reality unless we are honest and true with ourselves.
It is most definitely painful at times to watch Danny and Sam fumble their way through their growing relationship. It is also both humbling and magical to witness how Danny transforms himself again and again, using that iron will and deep sense of fairness that’s inside him to eventually manage to do the right thing—even when it could mean the end of a life-long dream. John Goode writes deeply flawed characters who manage to find laughter amongst the tears, and who morph into better people before our eyes. Danny and Sam grow up in this story; Danny and his teammates learn hard life lessons on and off the court, and unfortunately, bad guys sometimes really do get away with shitty stuff. It’s all there in this novel, and so much more.
I have said this so many times, but I think it bears repeating: Author John Goode is an outstanding storyteller. His characters encapsulate that “every man” we meet on the street where we live, the one who no one realizes has had to hide in the shadows and fear being who he really is meant to be, the one who longs to lead a life that is so often denied him. Mr. Goode writes this man with humor, grace, a hefty dose of flaws and a streak of courage. He creates characters that touch something deep inside each of us and leave behind a lasting impression.
Edge of Glory is not just a worthy sequel but is also an outstanding second chapter in a series that comes highly recommended to you.
You can buy Edge of Glory here: