Music is the only form of communication Connor Owens controls. No matter how badly he wishes to fit in, friendly banter and casual conversations have never been his thing. College is yet another social universe he has no clue how to navigate - until he meets Jared, a football player with chestnut eyes and a cocky grin that holds the power to shatter his self-imposed prison. Jared's attention opens Connor up to a new realm of emotional and physical intimacy. But as Connor's self-confidence grows, so does his fear that everything will fall apart. Because in this socially stratified world, how long can a relationship between an introverted violinist and a closeted football player really last?
©2013 Sara Alva (P)2014 Sara Alva
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"This is one amazing book!!!!"
I experienced them at the same time. So, there really is no distinction for me.
I am so in love with the character of Connor. In many ways, he's a dream guy. Makes me sad that he doesn't actually exist. :-(
He did a pretty good job.
I felt the entire spectrum of emotions on this one. I laughed. I cried. I fell in love. It wasn't nearly long enough for me, because I wanted so much more time to spend with Jared and Connor.
I have never wrote a review for an audiobook before, but this book moved me to get off my duff and write one. So, that should tell you something, right there!
"Sad, Sweet, and a little Saucy!!"
This was such a sweet story! I fell in love with Connor right away, I've often felt the pang of watching life from the outside too, and the self hatred and humiliation of shyness is an all too familiar feeling for me. When Jared steps onto the scene, I didn't know how I felt about him, until he started to show Connor his true self. A self that's so hidden from the world it makes Connor seem more like the brave one! I was very happy that Social Skills did not follow the usual formula of most romantic titles, the writing is so good, and the characters so real! I love Andrew Eiden as a narrator and I thought he did a great job with bringing the whole cast of characters to life, but especially Connor and Jared. Great listen!
"Angsty college romance w/ great narrator"
I loved both of the main characters. Shy, socially-challenged Connor was sweet but not a pushover. Jared, the outgoing jock, was very likable.
However, the best part about this audiobook was the narrator. He did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and read the narrative with a clear voice, pleasant tone, and excellent pacing. I feel like if I'd only read the eBook I would have gotten bored because the story dragged in some parts, but due to the excellent narration, I couldn't stop listening to this till the end.
This was more than worth the price and will definitely be checking out more stuff from both the author and narrator.
If you're in the mood for a coming-out story with two college guys, try this. It's somewhat serious, but the beginning of Connor and Jared's relationship was really sweet.
"Wonderful Coming Out Story"
I really enjoyed this college age coming out audiobook. It is told from Connor's POV and Connor is painfully shy and socially stunted; sometimes annoyingly so, music student. But this is a book primarily about his journey during his first year of college. He meets Jared, the popular football player, and they begin a love affair in secret. But as we know, nothing stays secret for long and there is fall out and ultimately, growth. The narrator did a wonderful job bringing this book to life. His portrayal of Connor was spot on and he brought a wonderful emotional element. The only negative with this book was the drama with the ex girlfriend; it really seemed out of place for the story. Overall, worth a credit..
"Awesome book and narrator"
Alva did an excellent job creating characters with depth and real emotion and I am not just speaking about Connor and Jared. Connor’s mother, a two-dimensional character on the surface, had very subtle traits that drove her behavior toward the various Owens family members. Connor’s sister exhibited empathy and emotion that caught me off guard, but that also made perfect sense once the big picture was exposed, and Rebecca showed herself to be a steady and reliable confidant for Connor.
As for the narration, I have found myself a new favourite narrator in Andrew Eiden. Almost every character was done in a distinct and consistent fashion with one exception. Connor’s pit bandmate, Ray, sounded an awful lot like Jared, but aside from that, an excellent job. Eiden’s narrative voice was clear, the pace perfect, and the gaps due to editing were minimal and so it was rare that I got pulled out of the story for these all too common reasons.
I was well and truly sucked into their world and loved to see the power play between Connor and Jared, especially and the story progressed and I could track the slowly shifting power from Jared to Connor. This does not mean that Connor all of a sudden became a confident, outgoing guy, but rather demonstrated an increase in his confidence and an unwillingness to continue to live his life as he was before, while Jared seemed to shrink in on himself as he slowly came to terms with being gay.
"Decent coming of age story"
Do you ever feel sick to your stomach when reading a book? That's definitely what I felt while reading this book, and not because disturbing things happened in it but just because I hate it when there is so much miscommunication in a relationship that they begin to lose each other. This book is not about a relationship so much as Colin's journey of self-discovery, but the healing between both Colin and Jared is very drawn out, and I guess it just hit a little too close to home for me to enjoy the story.
I guess a lot of times I go to books looking for an escape into a fantasy world, and this was a little too real, too unsure, too painful for my taste. It was half about finding love, and half about growing up, and I sort of wish it had been just one or the other. I don't know what I wanted from this book but I've come away feeling a little empty.
"Conner finds his voice"
I'm a sucker for well considered "coming out" or "coming into your own" tale - even more so when they are skilfully combined. Conner comes out, and finds his voice in a wonderfully written coming of age book. Splash out, buy it, cause you're going to love it.
This was an enjoyable listen. Great m/m romance of young college love... One awkward violinist, who forms a weird and secretive friendship with a football jock, slowly grows into a relationship. I enjoyed it.
Well worth a credit or a sale.
Narration was pretty good too!
"Nice NA/YA story"
Connor’s first year at university is turning out to be very hard. He’s very shy and socially awkard and gay. He finds a group of friends but is still rather lonely. When he meets (and falls for) Jared, a jock, he’s shocked when his attentions are returned.
Jared is a jock and tries hard to be “a man”. In fact, that’s one of his most identifying “issues”. When he realizes his attraction to men, he tries to be “bi” but finds that if he’s honest, he’s really “gay” and that’s hard for him to accept. He doesn’t want to let his mom down and his friends are kind of jerks about stuff like that.
Jared, however, loves being “the one” for Connor. They click and just feel good together. Jared, however, can’t deal with being public about their relationship and ultimately they split.
When something happens to make Jared realize he can’t let his friends or family expecations rule his life, he realizes he needs Connor more than he ever thought possible.
Boy… what to say.
First, it’s easy to love Connor. God, he’s just so painfully shy and geeky and you want to wrap him in a blanket and tell him it all gets better from here.
Then there’s Jared… who, let’s face it, acts like a guy in his situation really probably would.
So… on the one hand I commend the author for that feeling of authenticity. I could buy this story as happening. There was some (mild) on page physicality but mostly this is a YA book about coming out and coming into your own “selfness”.
I was (of course) rooting for the couple… who wouldn’t… but Jared has a long way to go to convince me he’s worthy of Connor and I’m not sure we quite got there. Jared’s kind of a jerk and though I think (especially in private) he really cares for Connor, are they really likely to succeed (long term) as a couple… meh… I don’t know.
But… FWIW I do think they come really close to being a good example of “first love” and gave both characters their first taste at being true to themselves.
So… the die hard romantic in me wasn’t very satisfied, but the more pragmatic reader of stories recognizes that this is a well written book full of really well developed and realistic characters that touches on some important topics in growing up and does it very well.
I thought Andrew Eiden did a good job with the narration. I liked how he handled the emotions and though he didn’t do a lot to “act” or give special voices to the characters, he was easy to listen to and made for a good way to experience this story.
4 of 5 stars
Currently, this book is the standard by which I compare all the others.
M/M romance is my escape, but as a gay male, I have a problem. So much of M/M romance is written by women for a female audience. Nothing takes me out of a story quicker than a male character thinking or uttering something completely unfathomable for a male to be saying. Sara Alva is not perfect in correcting this, but she is so good at allowing this 50+ yr old male to believe that what I am reading are the words, actions, and ideas of sexually active gay men - and she writes a nice story with a touching romantic narrative. It is so captivating to follow the two guys as they discover who they are and what they need.
Ms. Alva avoids most cliches and only once wonders a bit into the weeds with a subplot involving challenges faced by a friend of one of the leads.
Anyway, this is a very good story where the two leads face real world challenges and deal with them in ways that ring very true.
Fallen in love with Connor brilliant description of social anxiety and how it feels. real
"Social skills is beautiful."
The narration is excellent and the angst and shyness real,highly emotional.
A great coming out story.
More Sara Alva please.
"just enough diffence to be good"
It is good to see authors like Sara Alva getting more into the public eye, and very fortunate that she had a great narrator prepared to put in his time for no more reward than the satisfaction of a job very well done. I liked the reading very much.
The story is good too, typical enough in many ways, but the sub plot of the ex "not a girlfriend" is interestingly done and allowed for a lot of character development.
A good read and btw definitely NSFW on occassions so be prepared to blush in your headphones on the bus!
"I don't often review"
I rarely review as I dont really know what to say. Its simple really, did I like it or not. In this case I did. The story is believable at a pace that doesnt make you yawn and its totally surrounded by sex. We performed by Andrew Eiden a lovely listen.
the first moment they kiss
Conner of course :-)
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