The Academy by Quinn Anderson
Published: September 17, 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Genre: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
True love stabs you in the front.
Nick Steele just wants a normal life, cliché or not. He had one once, back in Chicago. Before his father died and he took a year off from college to grieve. Now, he’s starting fresh at a prestigious—but tiny—Catholic university. Adjusting to small-town life will be a challenge, along with making friends and keeping his scholarship. All he wants to do is blend in, get his diploma, and go back home.
But Sebastian Prinsen—campus heartthrob and a notorious player—has other plans. He notices Nick right away and makes a bet with his two best friends: Who can kiss the new kid first? Nick seems immune to Sebastian’s charms, and yet genuine chemistry sparks between them. Even worse, real feelings do too. Sebastian falls more and more every time Nick blows him off, but if he comes clean about the bet, Nick will hate him forever.
The last thing Nick wants is to fall in love while he’s still grieving, but Sebastian feels like home to him. Nick wants that so badly he may ignore the warning signs and risk his fragile heart once more.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure about The Academy at first because the bet that Sebastian, Theo, and Dante agree on seemed a touch cruel, especially in light of Nick’s ongoing grief over losing his father the year before. But I should not have doubted Quinn Anderson because she handled the plot with such grace and creativity. There’s so much squeezed into this book but it’s all paced really well and I never felt like it was too much. In fact, I was surprised that so little time had passed because I felt like Sebastian and Nick had been together forever. Their chemistry is immediate and unexpected for both of them and try as they might, both find themselves with emotions they never saw coming.
As much as I loved the writing, I struggled to truly connect with Sebastian who embodies the popular, selfish, and thoughtless stereotype of a rich college boy. While money hasn’t insulated Sebastian from hurt or pain I do believe he’s ultimately responsible for the hurt he’s causing others. There’s a lot of growth in this book for Sebastian so it’s expected that he’ll make mistakes along the way but it also made it hard for me to totally like him as a romance hero. While I liked Nick more he also has some prejudices and judgement he has to work through as well. Neither Nick nor Sebastian is perfect and their youth and immaturity was realistic if a bit frustrating. Maybe I’m getting too old for this? However I obviously wasn’t too bothered by it because I still gave The Academy 4 stars.
My hands down favorite part was that Quinn Anderson totally blew my mind; I thought I had everything figured out but oh, how I was wrong. It’s been a long time since a book truly surprised me but this one did and I pulled a literal OMG while reading. I can’t ask for a better moment in a book I’m reading. While the characters weren’t my thing, I’d definitely recommend this read because the story and the writing were golden.
**Reader Safety: Hero is still grieving his father’s death from a year before
4 stars – it was enjoyable
ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review