Townie and the Twink

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Title & buy link: Townie and the Twink
Author: Daisy Harris
Cover Artist: Jinger Heaston
Publisher: Siren/Bookstrand
Genre: M/M contemporary
Length: Novella (122 pages; 35,842 words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie S

Review summary: Another fun instalment in The Men of Holsum College series.

Blurb
Insightful to a fault, Gabe Ashton knows Nick Flynn’s gay even if Nick doesn’t. And after seeing how the townie looks at his “buddy,” Gabe knows Nick is in love with a guy who’ll never love him back. So Gabe invites Nick to campus parties and to hang out with new people. But soon their friendship turns physical, and Gabe wonders if he’s in just as much denial as Nick is.

Nick’s straight—or so he’s always assumed. But he can’t deny that the things he’s doing with Gabe are hot. More than that, he likes Gabe in a way he’s never liked anyone else. Well, anyone else except his high school friend, John. The hardest thing to give up is a fantasy, and the hardest thing to face is the truth. But if Nick wants the man standing in front of him, he’ll have to give up the one he never had.

Review
Townie and the Twink is the third novella in the Men of Holsum College series (book 1 was reviewed here and book 2 here), and it’s just as sweet and enjoyable as the previous two.

The blurb does a good job at describing the events of the book so I’ll just talk about the characters and the book overall. Gabe believes he has a kind of ESP that enables him to read other people better than they know themselves, although he often fails at understanding his own feelings. He’s a kind and thoughtful guy and genuinely cares about others. He also has a good sense of humour and doesn’t take himself seriously – he’s a bit baffled by his ability to read people but there’s nothing paranormal going on, he’s just astute and has a great deal of empathy. I liked him a lot as soon as we met him on the page, and I also worried that he might get himself in too deep when he began his pursuit of Nick.

Nick starts off in denial about his sexuality. He knows he’s not totally straight because he’s never enjoyed sex with girls, and when a girl he meets at a party asks him on a date, he goes along to be polite. He feels a little like an outsider because he’s a ‘townie’ who transferred into Holsum College after doing three years at his local college; he works in the town and he saves his money by living with his mum. This makes him feel embarrassed so he’s steered clear of making new friends, relying instead on his old high school mates, especially John. Except John has a girlfriend now, and Nick is oddly jealous, so when Gabe starts inviting him to hang out, Nick takes the opportunity.

Nick is a bit uncertain of being friends with a gay guy but he really likes Gabe and also Gabe’s housemates Matt and Sarah, who treat him as an intellectual equal and include him in their social lives. As Nick and Gabe get closer, we can see the preconceptions of what ‘being gay’ means begin to fall away. The first intimate scene is when the two guys are watching a film and they jerk off together – as Gabe says, straight guys do it, too, and it’s not a big deal! Nick agrees, and he feels safe and comfortable with Gabe and begins to explore his sexuality, even though he keeps on thinking that he’s not gay.

It’s kind of frustrating (I felt so sorry for Gabe!) but it’s also quite funny to watch Nick continually moving the goalposts and redefining what it means to be gay just so he can justify what he’s doing with Gabe. But of course the humour and excitement in this situation can only last so long before there are consequences, and Gabe falls in love and challenges Nick to come to terms with his long-repressed feelings for John, and to make a decision about what – and who – he really wants.

There were times when I wanted to thump Nick for being so clueless, but I could also see how he’d got himself into that position and how it was difficult for him to untangle himself. He’s a guy with a lot of pride who already feels on the back foot because of his ‘townie’ status, and he’s trying to protect an old friendship that may have run its course as well as worrying what his mum will think. I enjoyed the way Nick slowly came to his realisations and Gabe’s patience and empathy were great to read about.

The Men of Holsum College series is a good read for when you’re looking for something light and undemanding, yet it still keeps your interest and I really felt for these guys. Townie and the Twink is a very enjoyable addition to the series and I look forwards to book 4.

3 thoughts on “Townie and the Twink

  1. Wave

    Wonderful review Leslie. I enjoyed this book as much as you did, but book no. 1 is still my favourite. :) No. 4 is probably better than no. 3 but I’ll wait to read your review. :grin:

    1. Leslie S

      I started book 4 last night and am kinda liking the direction it’s going in :wink:

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