Appearances Matter (Dumb Jock #3), Jeff Erno
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Jock/Nerd, Series
*** This review contains slight spoilers. ***
Appearances Matter is the third book in the Dumb Jock series by Jeff Erno. Like the previous book, the third installment has a brand new couple but features characters from the other two as well. Fans of the series will know how the books go and this one isn’t really that different when all is said and done.
In book three we have Todd and Galen, with Todd being the protagonist. Like the first book, Todd is the nerd in the relationship. He was from the same broken family as the other two nerds, the only difference is his mom was an alcoholic and she was his only parent. That was a major part of the story line. He had a lot of issues with his mother’s problem and it made it difficult for him to make friends.
This book is a perfect example of how things modernise. It’s slightly more accepting than the first and even with the element of hate, it showed parents who accepted and supported their kids in being who they were. The bullies were there, sure. But it didn’t overshadow the acceptance shown by the parents in the end. And that was something I loved about the book.
The secondary characters were again a nice part of the story. I loved seeing Jeff and Brett and Adam and Trevor again. It’s something I love about the series. There were two main villains in this, and they were just plain nasty. But they contributed to the story, mainly the ending.
Todd and Galen’s relationship was nice and I found it to be lovely seeing the boys together. I loved the way Galen admired Todd from a distance before they officially met. Todd admired Galen too, but it’s nice to see the popular guy harbour a crush on the nerd with very few friends. It was something that wasn’t really in the other books and I loved seeing it here.
After Galen came out publically, which we didn’t get to read, he was run over by some of his ‘friends’. That part of the plot was probably disturbing to most, but it tackled the issue of gay bashings and that is not something focused on in the other books. I was so happy to see this book tackle that issue along with the others. It is something I feel strongly about and it was a major aspect of the ending.
The ending of the book was unrealistic. I agree with other reviews that have said this. Personally, I loved the ending. While it was unrealistic, I read it and it left me smiling because it was a HEA. The ending was satisfying, but did leave something open. So I am wondering if the author will go into all that in another book. It kind of feels like that could be why he didn’t explain what happened to the kids who ran Galen over.
I highly recommend Appearances Matter to fans of the first two books in the series. It can be read as a standalone, but it’s better when you know the other couples and characters who are being reintroduced.
This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.