Review: The Locker Room by Amy Lane

Note: This ebook was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review.

One way or another, this charade was going to end with this season. Xander hoped it would end with a championship under his belt, but at this point? Hell, he felt like he’d defied too many odds as it was. He wasn’t going to ask God for another goddamned thing. He’d always said, “Chris and basketball.” Well, he’d had his basketball, and now all he wanted was Chris.

I've read quite a few (A LOT!) of M/M sports romances over the past three or so years since I first discovered the joys of the M/M romance genre, but if memory serves me right, The Locker Room is the first one that has basketball as its sport of choice. I already knew going on that this was bound to be another brilliantly written read. It's Amy Lane, after all, and I swear, I've yet to read a book she's written that's left me wanting, unless you count wanting more of the same. However, what I wasn't prepared for were the tears because this story of true love and honest friendship was a heartrending tale. What you find between the proverbial covers is a journey of two boys who become men, all the while fearful that the secret that they keep will be discovered and cost them everything.

This book had a host of peripheral characters, a small number of supporting characters, and one notable antagonist, but it was the two protagonists--Xander Karcek and Christian Edwards--who are at its very core, each one the driving force, though possibly more Xander than Chris. They meet when they're both fourteen and become each other's best friend after one game of basketball, the sport they both love. Chris's family becomes Xander's, and the dire circumstances of Xander's living conditions and just how much the Edwardses are willing to do to support him are what bring on the first set of tears I shed in this book. It would be too easy to say people like Jed and Andi Edwards are mere figments of Amy Lane's imagination, but I choose to believe they actually do exist.

What makes this so different from other M/M sports romances that I've read is a combination of Xander's back story, Chris's devotion to him (a devotion that surpasses even Chris's love of basketball), the Edwards family's love and concern for Xander, and the reason behind their decision to remain mum for as long as they did about their sexuality and their relationship. Let's put it this way: it was EVERYTHING about this book and how it all fit together like a perfectly pieced together puzzle that made it extraordinary. The ending may not be sit well with those who prefer having their happy endings tied with a bow, but it wasn't about Xander and Chris living happily-ever-after but them finally LIVING--openly and with each other. To me, that was more than enough. The Locker Room is, hands down, one of the best coming-of-age, friends-to-lovers, sports romances of any genre EVER. Five-plus stars. ♥

Date Read: 11 August 2017

Learn more about Amy Lane.

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