Title : Social Skills
Author : Sara Alva
Publisher : Self Published (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary, Romance
Length : 95,460 word (e-book)
Published : January 22, 2013
Music is the only form of communication Connor Owens controls. No matter how badly he wishes to fit in, friendly banter and casual conversations have never been his thing. College is yet another social universe he has no clue how to navigate—until he meets Jared, a football player with chestnut eyes and a cocky grin that holds the power to shatter his self-imposed prison.
Jared’s attention opens Connor up to a new realm of emotional and physical intimacy. But as Connor’s self-confidence grows, so does his fear that everything will fall apart. Because in this socially stratified world, how long can a relationship between an introverted violinist and a closeted football player really last?
This is one of the very sweetest, and most heart warming stories I have read in a very long time. Normally I have a very low “sweet tolerance” in books I read – yet the author managed to avoid the trap of overplaying it. The balance of sweet and angst is a delicate thing, and she pulled it off perfectly.
Connor was at times adorable and at times Oh-My-God-I-Wanna-Throttle-Him!! He was so socially inept it was heartbreaking. His escape is his music – he lives through every difficult situation with his own personal accompaniment, and as someone who doesn’t know their adagio from their entr’acte I actually liked it. Not once did it have me thinking, oh my God, here we go again…. It just lent itself beautifully to the unfolding story.
Connor has one of those mums. You know the kind. The ones that insist on enrolling their kids for music lessons because they can’t play; and wheeling them out at social gatherings to impress friends. None of his family really knows him. They certainly have no clue what he wants to do with his life; and of course never ask. They plot his route, and he will follow. But now he is off to college – a fresh start, away from both his family and all those High School cliques. His attempts to break out of his shell are quite cute – he and his tree friend had me grinning! Then along comes Jared … Connor is assigned as Jared’s tutor, and so the friendship begins.
Jared is just lovely, I adored him from the very first. He is the jock to Connor’s geek – but he is such a sweet jock, with insecurities of his own. When he first kisses Connor, and Connor pulls away saying “What about your girlfriend?” Jared agrees and steps away, going to leave – at the door he says it wasn’t meant to happen. Connor assumes he means the kiss. But Jared says no, the having a girlfriend part. That broke my heart a little bit. Right then. The thought of this gorgeous, sweet, lovely guy – going through the motions; doing what he assumed he had to be seen doing. Not wanting to let anybody down. So sad.
Another thing I really liked was the way Sara still had Connor insecure around Jared; he wasn’t some unrealistic conduit to calmness for Connor. And even more so the way that Jared actually called Connor on it, it just felt real. It would be irritating to have to constantly force anything out of your friend, and now boyfriend; I cannot stand it when people have no opinions, so for me the inner turmoil of Connor’s as he psyches himself up before each visit by Jared is so sweet, planning the conversation in detail. Then the knock on the door…. and.. crap.. all the plans fall by the wayside 🙂
It really is a well told coming of age, coming out story – for both MC’s. There is a lot more to the story – Connor’s devious little sister with her bribery; his group of friends.. yes! he finally makes friends – and they are lovely. The way Jared’s friends handle his coming out, his wonderful mum, we get love notes in violin cases, flowers, and for a book with a very low smexy rating it still has moments that are so sensual. And when Connor eventually stands up and has a say – well, I very nearly cheered! A real feel good story! Truly lovely, and highly recommended. Go. Buy the Book!
Rated 4 stars by Barb