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I started reading this book – intending to maybe only skim it – so that I could read books 6 and 7 which I’ve been asked to review. I thought I’d get some background and leave it at that. (Don’t ask why I hadn’t read it before now – I don’t know either!)
I couldn’t put it down!
I loved all of it from start to finish!
Tom’s father disgraced the family and Tom has been hiding from the paparazzi and broke and is struggling to make his own – legit – money to finish school so he can hold his head up high and make his way in the world on his own merits. He finally scrapes together enough cash to make the payments and finds his roommate in off campus housing is a gay kid with a huge chip on his shoulder.
Reese had been told that he’d be getting a single dorm room after his last dorm-mates were involved in doing something terrible to Reese. So he’s understandably wary of a roommate, especially another jock. Little does he know that he has nothing to fear from Tom.
Tom had previous experience in being “bi-curious” but still identifies as straight, until… he overhears his roomie having sex and can’t help but be turned on.
What starts out as a love/hate relationship between these guys slowly develops into a slow burn romance. Then… just as things are warming up between the two of them sexually – their friendship ends up straining the limits as both of them are in denial of their need to seek help for their hang-ups and the other is in no position to offer mental help advice.
Luckily they have friends like Cash and Steph who help them see the light and to keep them from disintegrating as a couple.
This book is full of pain, real people, funny lines, lots of angst and some seriously steamy times.
I just fell in love with Tom – even though sometimes I wanted to strangle him for his near-sightedness. He’s such a big hearted guy and the perfect anchor for the more high-strung and emotional Reese.
Reese – however – is the braver of the two – and though he hides his pain in ways that are unhealthy – he doesn’t let tragedy take him away from life.
I really appreciated that though this is a solidly HEA story – the couple faces real struggles and they don’t just magically disappear because one guy said I love you to the other.
4.5 of 5 stars
Cooper North is a new to me narrator. I really like his voice quality. He definitely knows the difference between "reading" and "performing". He's great with the emotion, dialog, physical scenes and pacing. I thought his take on Reese was PERFECT. This is absolutely the best way to enjoy this story and is highly recommended!
5 of 5 stars
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Off Campus again? Why?
I will absolutely listen to Off Campus again. The intonation of the voice actor was spot on how I heard Tom and Reese in my head. Kudos to Cooper North.
What did you like best about this story?
The honesty and lyrical flow of the words building into sentences crafting paragraphs and chapters ... I can't get enough of Cousins' writing!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is still my favourite story of the Bend or Break series...full of angst, bittersweet moments and some hot sexy times thrown in for good measure. Cooper North was a new narrator to me [I now know he'll be narrating the rest of the series], and I thought he did a really good job with sexy, growly, insecure Tom and younger, more experienced but wary Reese.
When I shelve this as intense, I mean that there was a lot of angst...BUT there were humorous touches too. Yes, there were lots of 'should I throttle or hug him now?? ' moments as far as Tom was concerned, although given what he'd gone through and was still going through to some extent, I was really glad he made it to the other side with his head more or less intact. Reese, well he'd had a helluva time already at Uni, and for these two broken guys to get together when one of them wasn't even certain he was gay, took exceptional writing....and this book had that in spades!! For a writer relatively new to the m/m genre, credit to Amy Jo for the realistic way she wrote the characters and some of the scenes.