Review by Susan Lee
TITLE: Dumb Jock (2nd Edition)
AUTHOR: Jeff Erno
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
BLURB: Jeff Irwin is short, timid, and studious. A bit of a social outcast, he lives quietly in the shadows of the popular kids at his school, his life ruled by his ever-present fear of rejection or failure.
Enter high school football hero Brett Willson and the chance for Jeff to embark upon the challenge of educating the world’s dumbest jock.
But what develops between Brett and Jeff proves far more challenging than any tutoring session. In 1983, rural Michigan isn’t ready to embrace love between two men, never mind two teenage boys. If they’re going to make a go of it, Jeff will have to come out of his shell—and Brett will have to prove he’s more than just a dumb jock.
If I ever decide to write a book, I know it will be YA. The recipe is already there, you just have to put it all in, mix it around, give it your own flavor, and voila!
So, it’s no shock that “Dumb Jock” is about Jeff, a small, shy, smart, bullied kid who’s forced into tutoring Brett, the big, perfect, star quarterback jock…who’s also deep in the closet. And as most YA books go, there are your stereotypical, over-the-top side characters that include religious zealots, a tough-guy coach who spews hate words, unaccepting parents, a gay teacher/mentor, and the gorgeous but brainless cheerleader fake-girlfriend.
I am one who EATS UP these stories. I love them. I love the little guy. I cheer for the big guy. I feel happy when they fall in love. I hate the haters. And I love those that support them and help them find their way. And as far as those basics go, Dumb Jock does really well.
HOWEVER, the author then throws in so much more stuff that just doesn’t fit. Some school youth group called Campus Life. A random lesbian friend who gets kicked out of church. A suicide. A family tragedy. There was just A LOT to take in.
And though some of these moments were really emotional (and I cried…boy did I cry!) and some tender and some inspirational…it was just A LOT to take in.
Along with ALL of this, the writing was all over the place. I’d be reading about a scene and the next paragraph would have Jeff reminiscing about that same scene. And then I’d be back in that scene. It was confusing (<-much as my description there was confusing! J) So, with all these basic YA bits PLUS all the extraneous bits PLUS all these flawed writing bits…it was just A LOT to take in.
All in all, the book was enjoyable. Not my favorite YA but not awful either. Maybe, ultimately, just TOO MUCH to take in…
RELEASE DATE: 3rd June, 2013
Susan Lee is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love
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