Title: Him (1) and Us (2)
Authors: Sarina Bowen, and Elle Kennedy
Genre/Trope: Friends-to-lovers, hockey, romance, contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Summary for Him:
They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?
Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.
Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.
Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend… and a big one to learn about himself.
Thoughts on Him:
Friends with feeling for each other? ✔
Friends unable to properly talk to each other because of those feelings? ✔
Me loving this book because for some reason emotionally constipated athletes who need to realize how much they love each other are my thing? ✔✔✔✔
Seriously, I have a problem. This book is insanely tropey. So many tropes. There is even, at one point, only one bed.
(Though they make it one bed. Spoilers.)
Ryan is my fave, even though I hate to pick favourites, but seriously, he’s a soft boy pretending not to be one and he’s adorable and should be protected at all costs. At all costs. Keep that in mind because things happen in Him and he is not protected at all costs and I am super offended by that.
But “watching” these two characters dance around each other in this book is seriously everything. I love it so much, and something about it just feels insanely Canadian to me (probably the hockey). It is a good book, with character growth, dare I say it, hot sex scenes, and enough cute moments to have me trying to contain some truly interesting noises of excitement.
Summary for Us
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?
Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.
Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.
Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?
My Thoughts on Us:
First off, this takes place in what I consider to be my city. Toronto. The place I was born and the place that I greatly miss since Covid-19 has taken a hold of the world.
Second of all, hockey. I love it. I love all the background in particular in this book about how sports teams are handled and what it would possibly be like for someone gay in sports. This book displays the most optimal (but sadly unrealistic) reaction. Fiction is better than reality in this case.
Jamie and Ryan’s relationship hits some roadblocks in this book, which I appreciate, because not everything is happily ever after for everyone. I love the family input in this book as well, and the reality of some families being accepting while others may not be.
This book is a solid sequel, for sure.