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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

Refreshingly Authentic Portrayal of Bisexuality

Him - Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen

Generally, m/m, sports romances, and new adult are not not my cuppa. However, I picked this up because 1) I really enjoy (Windsor County, VT's own) Sarina Bowen, and 2) it's free on Kindle Unlimited right now. I am so glad I did, because I really enjoyed this book, and particularly, I loved how Jamie's revelations about his bisexuality were handled.

 

PLOT SUMMARY: As teenagers, Wes and Jamie were best friends and roommates at a summer camp for elite hockey players. Their last summer as campers, though, Wes challenged Jamie to a shootout. The stakes? A blowjob. Wes, just coming to terms with his own sexuality, lost on purpose, but settling the bet made him writhe with guilt at manipulating -- and molesting (as Wes sees it)-- his best friend, so he never spoke to Jamie again. Fast forward four years, and Jamie and Wes have both graduated from college and are on the cusp of joining NHL teams, when they meet up again for one summer as coaches at the camp where they met.

 

One of the reasons I don't read much m/m is that so many authors would have written Jamie's role as gay-for-you instead of acknowledging the concept of bisexuality. As a bisexual woman, it's all too easy to feel invisible: we just aren't represented very often in books or movies or TV, and often what rare representations of bisexuality exist don't ring true to my own experience. Jamie's attraction to Wes, their initial sexual encounters, and his eventual evolution into mature, committed love, was very authentic and actually mirrored my own coming out process. At one point Jamie narrates:

Wes heads to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and I watch him go. I even catch myself admiring his ass. Lately I find myself sneaking looks at him, trying to raise some kind of holy shit reaction to the idea that I'm involved with a guy.

I highlighted this passage because it was so reminiscent of my own experience, when I fell in love with my childhood best female friend my senior year in college. I kept thinking to myself: This is weird. This should be weird. Shouldn't this feel more weird? But it didn't. It wasn't. It felt right , and my internal anxiety was more about how it should have felt more strange and alarming than it actually did. (That friend and I have now been married for fourteen years, and we're raising two sons together.)

 

There were a couple of scenes where Jamie and Wes could have moved past conflict more quickly with more honest communication, but those difficult, adult conversations always happened; they were sometimes just delayed more than I'd have liked. On the whole, I found both characters very relatable and insightful, and the evolution of their romance was extremely emotionally satisfying.