Relationships 201 is the first book I’ve read by Alix Bekins and it definitely won’t be my last! I’m always on the lookout to discover new authors for me, and so when I noticed that this book was up to be reviewed, I immediately jumped at the chance to read it. Not only did I love the easy style of writing this author has, I found myself deeply involved with all the characters in this novel. I also appreciated the internal conflict the main hero, Stephan has for his budding feelings for his professor as the novel progressed. I thought Stephan was a character that was easy to identify with and even sympathize with as his story unfolded.
Things aren’t quite working out the way Stephan has expected. He had been looking forward to his first year of graduate school, and spending time with his boyfriend, Eric. Lately, he and Eric are having a difficult time relating with one another and Stephan can’t figure out what’s going wrong between them. To complicate things further, Stephan is very attracted to the seemingly straight, Professor Jeff Tegan whom he is TAing for.
As the year progresses, Stephan is starting to realize that he and Eric aren’t on the same page about many things. Even though Stephan makes several efforts to breach the widening gap between them, it doesn’t seem to be working. To make things worse, Jeff is turning out to be everything that Stephan has ever wanted as a partner and more. But, since Jeff has given no indication that he’s anything but straight, Stephan feels like no matter where he turns or what he does, it’s always the wrong move. Will he make the right decision and find true love in the end?
Relationships 201 is a labor of love. I say this because if you’re looking for a lighthearted or quick read this book is not for you. Stephan does a lot of soul searching and personal growth throughout the novel. In the end he’s determined to follow his heart, and I have to admit I rejoiced at the happy ending at the end of the book.
There are several things I really liked about this book. I thought all of the characters were very well written and very likeable people. It was easy to believe that most of them are struggling grad students with an uncertain, but bright future ahead of them. I hope that this is the start of a series because there were so many characters that I loved and would appreciate seeing how their lives turn out. (Including the loser in the love triangle…hint…hint) I also thought the college life descripted in this book was very realistic. Stephan and his friends do some heavy partying at times and some experimentation that I know most college students fall into. I appreciated that the author did not shy away from this, and it made me enjoy the book that much more.
My favorite thing about this book is watching the relationship between Stephan, Eric and Jeff pan out. I admit I was on the edge of my seat at times, because I wondered how everything was going to turn out. It was fairly easy to see the writing on the wall as far as what probably might happen, but I admit there were times I wondered how things were going to end, and I hoped it would be best for all of them.
The one thing that I did have to get used to and I think I should mention is that Relationships 201 is written in present tense. Admittedly, this threw me off a little, but once I got past a few pages, I got used to it better.
Relationships 201 has earned a spot on my keeper shelf and I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters in the future. Alix Bekins is definitely an author I will look out for in the future and I’m looking forward to reading more written by her. Ms. Bekins has a very interesting and informative blog. Here is the link if you are interested: http://alix-bekins.livejournal.com
Stephan Burke's relationship with Eric has hit a rough patch, and they can't seem to reconnect after their summer apart. Despite being good together, Stephan feels something undefinable is missing. Now starting grad school, he's meeting up with old friends who offer not-so-sage-advice, rediscovering how much time schoolwork consumes, and—Eric aside—crushing hard on the professor he works for.
Professor Jeffrey Tegan is new to campus and eager to befriend his TA. Jeff turns out to be almost everything Stephan has ever wanted in a man: he's smart, outdoorsy, likes music, and is smokin' hot. Only Jeff is just getting over his recent divorce, and Stephan has no reason to think Jeff is anything other than totally straight. He knows his crush on his professor is clichéd and ridiculous, but he's not fulfilled by what he has with Eric... is it so unreasonable to want more?