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Posted December 19, 2013
Reviewed by Christina Marie at The Morning After Romance: Wonderfully complex characters and lots of laughs!
First, let me tell you how much I love flawed characters. Complex, confused, crazy as hell characters push all my happy buttons because I can relate to them. They seem real, they have substance, and they send me through a super intense ride on the emotional rollercoaster. Add that to the fact that I love Daisy Harris books because they feel like cuddling up with a favorite blanket (the characters are always loveable, and their interactions and humorous dialogue keep me grinning the entire time) and you will understand why I was in heaven reading this.
Oh! Don't forget, that favorite blanket I just mentioned, it's one of those electric heated ones. Because, Daisy Harris gives good sexual tension. No. Screw good, great. And you just know the sex scenes are going to be off the hook. Which they were. Like, DAMN.
Angel is a freshman on a scholarship to Pacific Rim University. College is completely different from the area he grew up in and he feels a little out of place. He's hard and he looks it, with plenty of attitude to spare. Angel has both feet firmly planted in the closet, and when he finds himself achingly attracted to his Intro to Film TA, Shane, he dissolves into a confused mess. There aren't enough mops to clean up the mess that is Angel. Despite Angel's unapproachable attitude, Shane is drawn to him and their courtship of confusion begins. Freshman: Uncut is a little darker than other books I've read by Daisy Harris. It's less adorable, more heartbreaking dysfunction with a sprinkle of sweetness. It works perfectly. I so loved the characters in this, even though they were a hot mess. Actually, probably because they were, since they felt more rounded and real.
Angel, I just wanted to smother him in hugs. He is painfully vulnerable but he covers it in layers of hardness and this badass attitude that is pretty much ingrained from growing up rough. He's also a little jerk. Sometimes I couldn't decide if I wanted to hug him or smack him upside the head. He's abrasive, defensive, and continually mouths off to Shane. He is a confused, conflicted hot mess, and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Daisy Harris did an amazing, and I mean AMAZING job conveying Angel's confusion about what he wanted, about how torn up he was inside. Seriously, cheers to Daisy for the epic characterization that is Angel Cruz.
Shane seems like a bit of a dick at first. A loveable one of course, but damn he is cocky. He's sarcastic, a little rude, and he baits Angel. He is oh so funny, but I was still all "What are you doing man?! DON'T WAKE THE BEAST!" To be fair, it mostly comes from him not knowing how to read or deal with Angel. He eventually figures it out, and it was hilarious watching him get there.
The novella mainly focuses on Angel, Shane, and their relationship. They have issues. ISSUES. I can't even call them communication issues, even with the complete lack of communicating going on, because they just take it to a whole other level. It was like watching people trying to talk over a yawning chasm, underwater, with a language barrier. They just completely miss everything the other is saying, either verbally or through body language. Angel is confused, which makes Shane confused, which means no one knows what anyone wants and feelings just get stomped on. Angel and Shane struggle for a bit. Eventually they work through their problems, grow a little, and figure out how to be together. But it was like torture watching them fumble around each other's emotions. Really. Good. Torture.
This was short, but it was great. Of course, I wish it were longer since I would have loved to keep reading. Freshman: Uncut is the first in a series about Shane and Angel. Even though the ending was sweet and nothing was left unresolved I think both characters still have a lot to work through and a lot of growing to do. I'm looking forward to watching them do just that in the upcoming books. I'm happy that there are no irritating cliffhangers to make the waiting process even more painful. Just, don't read the excerpt for the second book if you want to keep it that way. And I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on the next one.
Posted November 30, 2013