Sunday, March 12, 2017

Avery Cockburn - Play On

Duncan Harris is on the edge. Scandal has shredded his LGBT soccer team’s history-making season, and now the once-unflappable striker is lashing out. Only one person can tame Duncan’s rage and make him feel like himself again…
Bullied by schoolmates in his wee village, Brodie Campbell lurked deep in the closet before coming to the city of Glasgow. Here at university he’s out and proud, but the years of abuse have left him emotionally paralyzed. Can flatmate Duncan help Brodie escape his past and heal his wounded heart?
As the two lads grow closer, Brodie can’t forget how athletes like Duncan once tortured him. When Duncan attacks an opponent who threatens Brodie, the situation escalates. Soon Brodie doesn’t feel safe anywhere—especially in Duncan’s arms.
To defeat the bullies who’ve wrecked his life, his mind, and his ability to love, Brodie must find the strength to fight his own battles. And Duncan must find the strength to let him.

Comment: This novella is the prequel of Avery Cockburn's series Glasgow Lads. The first book was the title that caught my attention but having the possibility to start with this one, I decided I could read in order.

In this novella we meet Duncan Harris and Brodie Campbell, two university students at Glasgow University. The two of them are roommates and one night got involved but things didn't went well and they were drunk. After that, Brodie got sick and Duncan sort of feels responsible and is now helping Brodie to recover.
The two guys aren't much alike, Brodie is more reserved and quiet and Duncan has more confidence and even plays football in an LGBT team. While trying to find common ground and figure out if they could be a couple, they also need to deal with those around them and the pressure of studying...but can they overcome the experiences of the past, their own personalities clashing and assume a relationship?

I won't take long in this comment. This was a sweet story at times and overall, I liked it.
Some things were a bit too difficult to understand and I admit the element that gives this book some uniqueness was a challenge. The Scottish words and some Scottish looking sentences he guys spoke weren't always easy to follow and imagining the accent also made it weird, simply because it's not something I'm used to.

The setting isn't bad, I actually liked the plot and all the themes sort of explored. 
I especially liked the contrast in personality between Duncan and Brodie. Their family and past experiences with being gay certainly affected the way they behaved and how they saw others and how they acted, Brodie being cautious and not being fond of athletes and Duncan just wanting to be his own person and not the gay poster boy for their proud parent's business. I did understand their issues and how each one processed them and in some way, it made sense how they reacted to outside things or living among other fellow students but details aside, it was still a little bit difficult to really read them and that made the reading experience less than ideal.

The detail I think wasn't as well done is how the relationship is looked at by each of them. I wasn't convinced they were actually falling in love and the way each one reflected or thought about it and what being with one another felt like seemed a bit...superficial and not really coming from their personality differences and tastes. I can't explain it but it didn't feel like the most balanced story and I wasn't much upset when it ended.
Overall, an interesting beginning of series, interesting details here and there but the romance didn't feel strong.
Grade: 5/10

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