Monday, 2 November 2015

Review: Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

3.5 stars

This review of Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen is going to be short and sweet. I recently read Sarina Bowen's Understatement of the Year, which is also a M/M hockey romance, and in a lot of ways Him is very similar. It makes sense; they share (half) an author and in both novels the heroes are college hockey players who were childhood friends before their diverging paths pulled them apart. I enjoyed Understatement of the Year more, but I can't put my finger on why because I read it too long ago.

Anyway, Him is about Jamie Canning and Ryan Wesley, who spent their summers together at hockey camp as children. They were inseparable, until they were eighteen and Ryan pushed things too far, or so he thinks. But when they come face-to-face years later, playing college hockey for opposing teams, it's clear that Jamie not only doesn't hate Ryan, he's not even sure why his best childhood friend ditched him all those years ago.

Ryan and Jamie's yearning for each other - both as friends and lovers - was well done. However, there was less tenderness between them than the heroes of Understatement of the Year, and this somehow felt like a bit of a missing link between their friendship and romantic relationship. I also enjoyed the second half much more than the first. There's a sense that time is running out, and both Ryan and Jamie are telling themselves that it was never anything serious anyway. 

Both heroes were also both caught up in their own thoughts and interpretations. Since Ryan is out, while Jamie has always considered himself straight, Ryan's internal monologue was very much along the lines of "OMG, I'm taking advantage of him", while Jamie is grappling with the realisation that he is bisexual. Mostly, it worked, but, at times, it came across a bit stream of consciousness-y (I admittedly have a very low tolerance for stream of consciousness, thanks to studying James Joyce in high school). But overall, a solid friends-to-lovers novel.

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