Review: Boy Banned by RJ Scott

Note: This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Boy Banned is the latest release from one of my favorite M/M romance authors, RJ Scott, and this standalone is all about two twenty-three-year-olds who audition for a talent reality show and find not just fame but love as well. There are three things about Angel Jacobs that are constant: his need to dye his brown hair white blonde and to wear white clothes, his insistence on being called "Angel" and not his birth name of "Reuben", and his being openly gay. He loves singing and was hoping to pass the auditions for Sing UK because the last thing he wants is to admit failure and be forced to work in the family business as a home decorator, especially not after years of hurtful taunts from his father and brothers for being gay.

Unfortunately, Angel and four other guys don't make the cut, flubbing the lyrics or letting their nerves get the better of them during the final audition. All is not lost and the five are given a new opportunity they can't say no to: form a group and work together through every weekly challenge in hopes of winning it all. Can five guys with different personalities and singing styles gel well as a unit? Then there's the distraction that is Corey Dixon, the rocker with a rebel vibe and who, at least on the outside, seems to be Angel's opposite. Except they both love music, want to perform, and are both gay. Corey is just as fascinated by Angel as Angel is by him, but boy bands can only have one token gay guy. Two would be pushing it. Right?

I quite liked this light read! Part of the premise reminds me of how one famous boy band who was also part of a talent show was formed, but other than that, everything else about the story was a creative take on two young men trying to go after their dreams and dealing with the highs and lows and everything else that comes in between. With Corey being on the autism spectrum, Angel, as well as the rest of their group members, make the effort to know more about it in order to learn how to better provide Corey with what he needs. The author tackled Corey's status with sensitivity, portraying how his behavior elicits varying reactions from people, but when he's with those who truly care about him, it's all about care and patience.

The relationship between Corey and Angel played out nicely, allowing the two to truly have a firmer foundation on which to build something that could go beyond friendship and last longer than their stay on Sing UK. We also get enough glimpses of the three other Wildcard members as well as a couple of other contestants and Wildcard's mentor to give us an idea of how they impact Corey and Angel's relationship, but not too much that we're distracted from the main characters. Not only did I like getting to know both Corey and Angel but both seeing how their relationship evolved and how Wildcard fared on the show each week made for an entertaining read. Boy Banned was sweet with a tiny dash of angst and it gets 4.5 stars. ♥

Date Read: 28 May 2016

Learn more about RJ Scott.

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