- Title: Love, Hypothetically
- Author: Anne Tenino
- Series: Theta Alpha Gamma, Book 2
- Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ (M/M)
- Publisher: Riptide Publishing, August 2012
- Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($4.99 ebook, available 8/27)
- Length: 100 pages
- Trope(s): Reunited, Big Misunderstanding, Guilt & Groveling, Nerds vs. Jocks, Coming Out, Unrequited Love
- Quick blurb: Cranky grad student finds it difficult to forgive and forget when the high-school boyfriend who betrayed him shows up unexpectedly.
- Quick review: 100 pages, 60 “damn, that’s good” highlights – you do the math.
- Grade: B+
Once again, I am forced to abandon my beloved and lazy One-Quote format because there were just too damn many good ones to choose from.
“How does one go about about changing one’s life?” he asked. Toby seemed to know a lot of useless crap, maybe he’d know the answer to this question.
It takes a lot of skill to turn a villain into a worthy hero. Yes, Paul was an evil little worm in the first book. But he freely admits his worminess (I just made that up) and he does something about it.
“I’m a prick. A prickly, bitter volatile prick, destined to splat on the floor of life.”
“…So stop being one.”
“…What, you think it’s that easy? I just decide to stop, and bam! No more prickliness? It takes action, man. I have to do things, take positive steps. I have to apologize and obtain forgiveness.”
For a relatively new author, Tenino is remarkably good at the elusive art of showing instead of telling. She avoids cheesy angstifying and lets Paul stumble through his anger and confusion and guilt with his usual dark humor:
Just…. How in the hell did one prepare oneself for apologizing? Was there some kind of training program? Had Tony Horton produced an exercise video about it?
Paul eventually figures it out, and – with reluctant forgiveness and help from Brad and Sebastian – finally gets the guy:
“All those years without you, I never had anything happen worth remembering. You came back and that all changed in a few days.”
So by the time we get to that hard-won HEA, it’s easy to share Frat Boy Brad’s protective stance:
“…I don’t have to threaten to kick your ass if you’re a dick to Paul, right, dude? Because up until yesterday, I didn’t even really like him, but you know, I’d do what needs to be done.”
The only issue that kept Love, Hypothetically from being an A grade was a formatting annoyance with the titular “well, hypothetically speaking” scene in the bar. The long monologue paragraphs were difficult to read on my Kindle Touch – which means it would be even more of a struggle on a smaller device. I had to page back to read a few of Paul’s charmingly convoluted explanations a second time because I missed an important bit of self-discovery on the first pass.
But that won’t stop me from reading it again.