DOWN BY CONTACT by Santino Hassell

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two hotheaded football players have to learn to get along after a preseason fight leaves them suspended from the NFL.

Simeon Boudreaux of the New York Barons is one of the NFL’s star quarterbacks. He’s young, beautiful, and has a wicked throwing arm. He’s also out as gay thanks to a situation involving a secret video and his best friend making the step to come out as bisexual. When the burning tension between Simeon and rival player Adrián Bravo of the New Jersey Predators—who'd taunted him with homophobic comments during a TV interview—leads to unsportsmanlike conduct on the field and an injury to boot, the two are forced into close contact as part of a summer football program at a community center in Brooklyn. Now Simeon and Adrián have to figure out how to work together—how to be in the same room together—without fists flying. When they settle for barbs instead, it evolves into an intense challenge that surprisingly helps the pair build an unexpected rapport. It also leads them to discover things about themselves and each other that neither is keen to admit. The second book in Hassell’s (Citywide, 2017, etc.) Barons series, this novel continues to explore the dangers of toxic masculinity and what might happen if it were cast aside and also features people of color as its two heroes, a choice that stands out in the world of mainstream football romance. The alternating first-person narration can lead to some confusion, but the voices are distinct enough that it’s easy to fall into the groove. On the whole, this is a deliciously dirty yet surprisingly sweet tale of two people who, in the end, want to love and be loved, whatever the obstacles might be.

A sexy and satisfying look into the hearts and minds of unlikely lovers.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-399-58630-9
Page count: 205pp
Publisher: InterMix/Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2017




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