Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.
In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn’t happy about.
When a gossipmonger with a popular YouTube channel finds evidence that Will is gay, the quarterback’s closet doors begin to crumble. Hounded by the press and harassed by other players, Will has to choose. Stay in the closet and keep his family’s wealth, or let the doors fall off and walk out with nothing. Nothing but Noah.
(This was previously posted for the book.)
Will is in his last year of business school (to satisfy Daddy) playing the straight, star quarterback for SCU. What he really wants is to be a gay painter, but he can’t afford to be honest with either his sexuality or his preferred profession. His goal is to win a scholarship for next year and be honest then.
Noah is an out and proud artist, working 3 jobs to pay tuition, hoping for the same scholarship Will is after because he’s so broke he’s having a hard time paying the bills. In the meantime he’s having an affair with his teacher, who is also a judge for the scholarship.
So… you can guess what happens. Will and Noah meet. They start a relationship. Noah and his professor end their relationship (this isn’t taken well by the prof.). Will gets outed by the media. Noah loses the scholarship (sort of) due to sour grapes. Will and Noah make a go of it and with some razzle dazzle Noah ends up with a scholarship, Will ends up in art school and we get a really lovely HEA.
I’m a huge Tara Lain fan and this book just sort of underwhelmed me. It took several starts for me to finish, I just wasn’t swept overboard by any of the elements. The attraction between Will and Noah wasn’t spectacular. The storyline was predictable, which can be fine if there are other things to hook you in, but I just didn’t feel any zing with this story.
I really liked the secondary characters, Jamal and his sister Ev, and am excited to read Jamal’s story in the next installment, however.
I thought the writing was excellent, it was edited well, and of course I loved the happy ending, but overall, I just wasn’t wowed.
John-Paul Barrel is a new narrator to me. I really appreciated that he tried to differentiate each person with a unique voice. Some of the voices were better than others. I didn’t care much for his intonation and emotionality (acting) and didn’t like his overall “narrator voice” much. For me, unfortunately, it detracted from the overall listening experience.
World Building/Characterizations 4
Overall 3.3 of 5 hearts