The Locker Room
Title : The Locker Room
Author : Amy Lane
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 250 pages (e-book)
Published : April 21, 2011
Xander Karcek has only wanted two things in his life: Christian Edwards and basketball—the man he loves and the game that let him escape a childhood he’d rather forget. His two obsessions have served him well. He and Chris beat the odds and stayed together through high school, college, and right on to the NBA.
But life under fame’s microscope isn’t easy, especially when two men are pretending to be frat-buddies so the world doesn’t know they’re the next best thing to married. Their relationship survives the sacrifices they make and the lies they tell to stay together, but when their secret is exposed, the fallout might destroy them when nothing else could.
Chris and basketball are the two things holding Xander together. Now the world is asking Xander to make a choice. Is there an option that includes a future with the man he loves?
OK, I love this book. I know it was released in April of 2011 so for some this is an oldie. For those of you who haven’t read it, I can assure you it’s a goodie.
Set in the sports worlds of high school, college and the NBA, “The Locker Room” is the story of Xander Kareck, a man with a brutal childhood and Christian Edwards, his childhood friend who becomes his touchstone and soulmate when they meet at fourteen playing basketball in a neighborhood courtyard.
The Locker Room is a wonderful coming-of-age love story that lets us experience how two boys grow into men, how they mature and how their relationship evolves through high school, through college and into the NBA.
Chris and Xan become fast friends through deep understanding, compassion and Chris’s determination to keep his friend safe. You feel their affinity instantly. As the story develops, Xander knows, he must have two things – Christian and basketball, the man he loves and the game he loves because both have kept him sane and have allowed him to rise above his horrible childhood.
Their developing relationship is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Xander and Christian’s love for each other is strong and grows stronger throughout the book. The decisions they make to protect their privacy and careers are heart wrenching. Their choices, which are mutual, allow their teammates, acquaintances and fans to believe the emerging superstars are super-in-synch teammates, but the lengths to which they must go to maintain the facade takes its toll on them and will break your heart.
The most amazing thing is that their story is simply about two people who fall in love. How they relate, how they treat each other, how they love and care for one another is universal. That they must hide what they feel from society is not and that makes this story particularly appropriate following NBA player Jason Collins’ announcement that he is gay last April. Although I know little about the intricacies of the sport — expect that I adore Dr. J., Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan — I found the setting and world building true and appropriate to this story.
Amy Lane uses the secondary characters so well. Chris’s mom, dad and sister are pitch perfect and we get to know them so well as we experience all of Chris and Xan’s life moments as we move toward the book’s conclusion. I thought that Chris’s parents, his sister Penny and some of the other characters were wonderful — Xan’s and Chris’s agent Leo, Lucia their housekeeper who took care of them and kept all their secrets, their first two coaches, Chris’s teammate Cliff and his wife Alicia were all beautifully written. The loyalty and support of family and friends the men surround themselves with allow them to have what each man craves most — the other. Their NBA coach is especially unpleasant, but that works in the story and serves to illustrate the hardships that the two men face as they try to keep their secret, play in the NBA and above all else, be happy.
If you haven’t read this story, buy and enjoy! Amy Lane does not disappoint.
Rated 5 stars by Carli