Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: Social Skills by Sara Alva

Social Skills by Sara Alva
Novel: 357pgs
3.5 Pants Off

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?

Connor Owens is extremely shy, and the only time he seems to shine is when he's playing the violin. The music takes over and he gets lost in a world where he speaks through his music and everything seems easier. Connor really wants to fit in, and being in college is a time for socializing and making new friends. Yet, the words always get lost in Connor's throat and leave him feeling silly. He does manage to make a friend in that of his music stand partner. When Connor is asked to tutor two jocks, his shyness and not wanting to hurt his professor's feelings have him saying yes. But when the actual time for tutoring is to begin, Connor just hopes he doesn't bomb and/or completely embarrass himself.

One of the boys he has to tutor is Jared, and Jared is the kind of guy that Connor finds attractive but alas Jared is the typical jock who is insanely popular with the beautiful girlfriend. Connor knows he could never be anymore than his tutor or something even as close as an acquaintance but when a true friendship begins to develop Connor is walking on cloud nine because nothing could be better. That is until Jared kisses him for the first time and Connor realizes he's getting more from Jared than he could have possibly dreamed. Downside, their relationship has to stay hidden behind the walls of Connor's room. But it's alright, Connor is willing to take scraps if it’s coming from Jared and he's just happy with their cozy little love nest. That is until the walls start to crumble and keeping their relationship a secret starts to hurt Connor more than he ever expected. It might be a case of love gained and then lost.

On one hand I really enjoyed this story, but on the other hand I feel like it followed the typical nerd/jock trope. From keeping the relationship under lock and key then being suddenly outed and riding the storms. I guess I was expecting more but it failed to meet my expectations. Even with my misgiving, there is a lot to like about this story. For on the evolution of Connor Owens was really great to read, he went from a social outsider to a man actually making an attempt to speak up. He didn't become a social butterfly overnight which makes his character believable and enjoyable. Jared, my feelings are mixed on him. I feel like I have read his type so many times that I am far from being sympathetic. Then he had the audacity to pull a jealous type of boyfriend thing, gawww it just freaking annoyed me. I started to like him close to the end when he was showing actual courage.

The lowest point for me was the situation with Jared's ex-girlfriend. I am trying to understand her actual purpose, apart from outing them to the entire college. Writing a mental illness is delicate enough but...I just don't see how she worked into the storyline (I guess helping her out showed both Connor and Jared's caring side). Yeh didn't like that part of the story.

Geek Level: A 2.5 out of 5. Connor is a music geek and dude does all the reading for school (I mean all his reading). He's smart enough to be a tutor, reads a little science fiction and his social anxiety really says geek. Though not 100% a part of the storyline, he still does a little geek.

Should You Read It? If you're a fan of the nerd/jock finding love trope, then yes this book might be it for you. As I said I did like it, but was sorta expecting more and was hoping it would step away from the usual set up. I really liked Connor and have feels like he deserves more than Jared (he certainly does) but alas the heart wants what the heart wants. A good job by Sara Alva, and I am looking forward to more books by the author.

3.5 Pants Off
Be sure to enter to win Social Skills in the Giveaway...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Go ahead and talk to me!