Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted March 27, 2020 by Kate

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, College Romance, Sports Romance
Also by this author: Top Secret, , The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), Hotter Than Ever
Series: Him #1
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Source: Kindle Unlimited

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.
Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

I’ve not beaten around the bush and hidden how much I adore Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s books. I love their books separately, and I DEVOUR the books they write together. I’ve heard the praise for Him and put off reading it … for some reason. I don’t know why! I absolutely adored it ?

If someone was to write a book directly for me… Him would kind of be it. I love MM romancethe vulnerability is always that much sweeter (which it was!), and it normally accompanies some sweet emotional moments, and the characters battling themselves about their attraction. What can I say? I’m a magnet for sexy angst stories. But still, there was so much more.

It had almost all my favorite tropes! Wes and Jamie were childhood friends, who went to summer camp together for six years until something happened on their last summer, and Wes never replied to Jamie again. Flash forward four years later, and they meet again at the Collegiate Hockey Finals in their last year of college. That is… until they both show up to spend one last summer to coach at their old Hockey camp. There’s a lot to unpack there

“Jamie Canning was my first crush and my first love. But he was never mine to have.”

The friends-to-lovers trope always gets me, but it has to be done right. And in Him… it was done right. Their bond was so strong, even after four years of being apart. They were genuinely best friends before any of the romantic stuff came into play, which always makes the relationship that much more developed.

But even then, Wes and Jamie’s chemistry smoldered in the background of most of their interactions. They were great friends, and we were able to see that. They truly knew each other and had each other’s backs in every way. But their stunning chemistry had me feeling like I was slowly roasting over a fire, and I had to fan myself quite a few times – embarrassing, due to the fact that I read most of this book in a coffee shop. But my flushed face was the least of my problems when Wes and Jamie were going through some shit! 

I can look into those brown eyes that always killed me and apologize for being such a dick. And then I can buy him a drink and try to go back to sports and smack-talk. Safe topics. The fact that he’d been the first I ever loved and the one who made me face some terrifying things about myself… well, that will all go unsaid.

The thing that sometimes shuts me down about MM romances is that sometimes… the two men can feel like the same character, carbon-copies of each other just strutting around and getting sexy in the bedroom. But this was far from just a smutty story – Bowen and Kennedy really put effort into fleshing out the characters. Outgoing Wes may have been the magnetic, adventurous, cocky wise-ass who doesn’t say no to a dare, but laidback Jamie was the one who was emotionally brave and never hesitated to put himself out there and was the glue of the relationship. He may not be the one initiating their adventures, but he sure as hell never hesitated to go along with Wes’s schemes and was always more openly vulnerable.

The truly touching and romantic part about this book was when the characters unveiled themselves for the reader. We got to dive deep into their layers as they revealed them, and I felt so much as they’d id. Wes was such a hot-shot, but his hesitation and fear over Jamie rejecting him or regretting anything were so real to me. He had a heart of gold, and having that be slowly revealed throughout the novel felt like a benediction. I also loved how natural Jamie’s sexual evolution felt. Him realizing that he was bisexual was a true journey, and I really felt that I was on that journey with him.

The way Bowen and Kennedy handled this romance, magnificently, made the emotions just pour out of it – I really, really felt Wes’s desperation to keep Jamie in his life, but also his guilt and despair over “manipulating” him all those years ago really weighed him down. It was such an interesting struggle between the two because Wes always self-incriminates himself and would stay away as his own punishment… but Jamie was never mad. He was just upset that Wes “fired” him as a friend, and only really cared about keeping Wes in his life. Not to mention Jamie’s confusion. Their feelings for each other were so heart-warming and obvious and I just wanted to reach in and hug them both! 

Other New Adult M/M Romances you may enjoy…

Cover to Cover Book Blog Kat Snark covertocoverlit Book Blogger Book blog reader reading Top Secret Kindle Unlimited Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy MM Frat College Stripper Rich boy poor boy Cinderella story neighbors roomies      

Have you read a Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy book? What’s your favorite sports romance? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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