“In Goode's End of the Innocence, one of the minor characters is Foster, Texas, sporting goods store owner Tyler Parker, who at nearly thirty was once a football star but whose pro career was cut short when his knee was severely injured. Matt Wallace, the youngest of Foster's Wallace brothers football triad, crushed on Tyler in high school and is now coming back to town for the holidays. Goode, author of the wonderful Foster High YA series, successfully veers into adult romance territory in this latest book.
Since Matt came out to his family before moving to San Francisco, his mother has been excited about fixing him up with a good man. Tyler, as far as she is concerned, definitely fits the bill. Matt, who hated life in Foster, not only doesn't want his mother interfering in his love life but dreads coming home for the holidays even though his California best friend Sophia mocks him about what could happen between him and Tyler when Matt gets there.
Tyler thinks no one knows he's gay, but the whole town, including the jock who works for him, pretty much knows and accepts Tyler for who he is. While the story is ostensibly about how Matt and Tyler find happiness with one another, it's also about lousy choices of best friends and confidants, and the horrible advice and jeering that these destructive friends use to bolster their own self-esteem at the cost of Matt's and Tyler's.
Both Tyler and Matt tried incredibly hard to appear to be straight when they were growing up, especially in high school. Unfortunately, high school, while years in the past, has left indelible marks on both of them. In order to come together successfully, both men have to readjust their self-views and come to terms with whether they care what the people of Foster, Texas, think about them or not.
While they share so much, they are completely different people. Even though he's out, Matt is still not happy with his life or himself. As his mother points out, he was miserable in high school and is still miserable, a state she finds totally unacceptable and wants, like all mothers, to change. Matt has been marking time, hoping that someone somewhere will make him happy. He's totally missed the point that the way to happiness is to be happy with himself.
Read the rest of my review at AAR (All About Romance): http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=9840”
Pat Henshaw wrote this review Sunday, October 27, 2013.