Jamie Fessenden
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
March 2014
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

In 1996, Jake Stewart is starting his third year at the University of New Hampshire. Even as a successful business major, he is absolutely miserable. Not only is Jake pursuing a field he hates when he'd rather study art, he is utterly terrified of what will happen if his father finds out he's gay. When he finally gets up the courage to move into the creative arts dorm on campus, his new roommate, Danny, is openly gay—and there's no denying the attraction between them.

Danny Sullivan has been out since high school, and he appears comfortable with his sexuality. But something happened in Danny's past—something that gives him nightmares he refuses to talk about. Unknown to Jake, the way he mistreated his friend, Tom Langois, when Tom came out to him in high school, is mild compared to the way someone very much like Jake treated Danny.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Mar 25, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
121 people found the following review helpful
Nothing is screwed up about Jamie Fessenden's new novel, not the characters, the plot, or his excellent writing.

In 1996 at the University of New Hampshire, business junior Jake Stewart takes a bold step, moving into Eaton House, the creative arts dorm. Jake's homophobic father has denied his youngest son's love of art, saying art is for sissies. But Jake rebels because he realizes that if he doesn't give reign to his artistic side now, he'll never be able to do so when he goes to work for his dad's company.

Eaton is a revelation to the closeted Jake, whose out-and-proud roommate Danny Sullivan is a key player in an ongoing Dungeons & Dragons role playing game. Not only that but music major Danny is Jake's dream man. But since Danny, like everyone else, thinks Jake is straight, this is a bit of a problem. Is Jake ready to come out to his new friends in Eaton House and more importantly to Danny?

As are most guys around the age of eighteen, neither Jake nor Danny is completely self-confident. Jake's so far in the closet, with good reason given his father's and brothers' homophobia, that he's miserable as he looks around at the free-wheeling hookups going on around him. He wants to belong to the GLBT club, but can't quite out himself, even to those like Danny who would support him.

Danny, too, is miserable, but his misery is somewhat self-imposed. Danny did something stupid in high school and has been taunted for it ever since. He wants to move on and leave the past in the past, but unfortunately, one of the Eaton residents also attended Danny's high school and isn't above persecuting Danny for his past mistake.

Fortunately, Danny, unlike Jake, has a parent who's totally on his side and as supportive as she can be. Unfortunately, she's also a hippy and practicing Wiccan, none of which make her a typical women's magazine mom.

Working through their personal problems and coming together, however, make Jake and Danny's first year memorable and will strike a chord with readers who also were a bundle of contradictions when they were in their late teens.

Everyone will recognize both Danny and Jake and empathize with these bright and brave young men. Except for the Dungeons & Dragons games, little about Jamie Fessenden's book is extraordinary, and that's the beauty of his storytelling. He has given us a glimpse back into our pasts and reassures us that like Jake and Danny, we've come a long way since then.
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