Book Review: The Understatement of the Year

Updated: May 1


After reading the first two books in this series, I went ahead and bought the rest of the series. That was a mistake.

Unfortunately it was too late for me to return the books. So instead, I’m going to write really salty reviews. Are you ready?

Good.

Understatement of the Year is a deviation from the rest of the series since it features a Male/Male romance rather than Male/Female. It’s also $4.99 not $3.99 like the rest of the books in the series for no good reason that I can see.

So what do you get for that extra dollar? A story about being true to yourself. Michael Graham is deep in the closet. So deep that he’s hanging out in Egypt about his sexual orientation. So when a blast from his past strolls into the locker room he’s blown away and memories he’d rather forget resurface.

John Rikker has always known who he was. And unlike many, he’s not ashamed of who he is. A Gay Hockey player with a killer slapshot. But when he comes to Harkness and finds the one boy he’d always loved staring at him across the ice, he knows he’s in trouble.

Will Rikker be able to ease Graham out of the closet and into his life? Or is their reunion doomed?

So….

Fair warning… here there be spoilers.

I had a lot of problems with this book. Part of it was that I felt that some of the plots were kind of thrown in and that the author took the easy solution each and every time.

Homophobic Parents? Check.

Homophobic hometown? Check.

Girl being treated like shit to hide sexuality? Check.

Flamboyantly gay ex? Check.

Love interest hurt in order to get the other to realize his true feelings? Check and mate.

That being said, I really liked some of this book, but not all of it. I liked Rikker. He’s a great character. He’s got the right amount of positive and negative traits. And I just wanted to give him tons of hugs and watch the Red Wings with him. I liked his ex-boyfriend with his new boyfriend. While the ex was a stereotype, the new boyfriend wasn’t. I liked Bella, who was the beard for Graham. She’s very sex positive and I love that. I liked the coach and his attitude toward homophobia that is rampant in college sports. And of course I loved Hartley. What I didn’t like was Graham. I really really didn’t like him. He was a user and needlessly cruel. Seriously… look up asshole and he’s right by Christian Grey. I hated what he did to Bella. He treated her like shit. He used her. He strung her along and gave her hope that he loved her like she loved him. I also hated what he did to Rikker. I get that he didn’t know how to feel, but playing ping-pong with someone’s emotions and feelings is a shitty thing to do. I don’t care who you are.

I also wasn’t terribly fond of the city used as the background antagonist… But here I admit my bias. I’m from Grand Rapids. The high school referenced was a thinly veiled facsimile of Grand Rapids Christian High School. The book really didn’t try to hide that.

However, the author clearly did not do the research. One repeated line was that “Grand Rapids is a place where they ask you what church you go to and what you do second.” Except that it’s not. No one has ever asked me what church I went to. No one. No one cared. I lived here in the 80s as a child. I went to school with openly gay people in the 90s. Two sets of lesbians lived on my block. My mother’s sabbatical partner is an openly gay woman. And more telling, I myself am bi and lived with a woman in Grand Rapids. Oh and have I mentioned I live less than a mile from GRCHS? Because I do. The thing that really pissed me off was the line from one of the parents… That they sent their kid to the school because there were no good public schools. I call B.S.! My public high school was in the top 5 in the state. The immediate area has 4 of the top twenty. All public. GRPS has an amazing magnet school. Oh and Grand Rapids has more charter schools… Good ones… than you can shake a stick at. There was no reason to send the kids to GRCHS. It doesn’t even come close to City High School, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, East Kentwood, Rockford, and Forest Hills Northern in academics. This regional bashing was done to heighten tension, and I knew it. And that pissed me off.

That’s a picture from this year’s PRIDE… and it’s been going on for 30 years. that should tell you something.

It didn’t help that I also disliked the Granny, she was very stereotypical. And I didn’t like the slut-shaming that went on with Bella. Seriously, when you turn to slut-shaming, you need to rethink what you’re doing. Then there’s the disconnect in the series. The rest of the series features explicit penetrative sex. This one… Not so much. It’s like the author didn’t feel comfortable writing anal sex. Or Male/Male sex. Which in that case, the author shouldn’t be writing this story.

So part of me wants to give this one star. But I know that’s my bias talking. Taking out the regional bias, this gets Three stars mostly because I really loved Rikker and the writing was well done.

You can get it here.


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