Book Review: Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma #3) by Anne Tenino
There are several things about this story that make it memorable for me, but the fact that it touches on so many challenges and charmingly handles them all is one of my favorite things about it. Repressed sexuality, bullying, insensitive “sensitivity training”, social pressure, vast age differences, etc make this story stand out. What really makes it shine, though, is the chemistry between Collin and Eric and the depth written into their personalities. Once you delve down deeper, neither is what you expect and they make an adorable couple. Sweet Young Thang is a “must read”!
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Don’t let the candy-pop cover fool you; Sweet Young Thang is a thoughtfully well-written and skillfully executed romance that happens to be a story about two men. What I mean by that is this isn’t one of those stories where the entire cast is gay and everyone just sort of blithely accepts everything; this story delves into the challenges and heartbreak that growing up gay in today’s society often leads to. With so many romance stories out there, finding quality ones can be exhausting and frustrating, so one of the things that really struck me about this story is its sparkly love-at-first sight, no-holds-barred and take-no-prisoners emotional intensity. It brought back memories of college hookups and feeling that first rush of attraction so strong you couldn’t wait to get your hands all over each other. It’s sweet and adorable and sexy as hell, and some of the scenes literally made me feel tingly to my toes.
Actually, that sorta sums up Collin too. In Frat Boy and Toppy (I love these book names, by the way, and how Ms. Tenino doesn’t take them too seriously), Collin was confused and awkward. In Sweet Young Thang, he’s definitely on his stride and has a fun, intimate relationship with Eric, who is 15 years older. It’s like finding the man he fits together so well with literally makes him a better, more complete person and that comes across strongly in the evolution of his persona throughout the book.
Sweet Young Thang has a lot of sex. Seriously, a lot. It’s hot and explicit and oddly endearing. These guys obviously love each other and the story takes us through the start of their relationship, from lust-at-first-sight tingles all over to you’re-the-center-of-my-world headiness. While there is a thread of mystery throughout the book, the main focuses are on the characters, particularly Collin, and their evolving relationships with each other and prominent players in their lives.
Priorities, Collin, priorities…
Ohthankgod. Collin’s mind had been close to gibbering in fear when it had hit him that not only was he homeless, but he was the go-to guy for the president of the homeless. He’d begun to imagine he and Kyle would have to deal with all of it—finding guys places to live, figuring out how to get people in thongs clothed, buying out the local drugstore’s stock of toothbrushes. Oh God, and the electronics. All those ruined laptops and smartphones—how would they watch porn?
Throw the phone at the wall harder next time…
“I thought you wanted to kill that thing. Ignore it.”
Collin looked down at his cell, steps slowing. “I sort of feel . . . I don’t know, guilty. I mean, I like my phone.”
“Sweetness, your phone is an inanimate object. It has no feelings of fondness for you.”
Collin frowned at him. “But it must like me. It’s trying to communicate with me, see? There’s the little bubble with a number in it, telling me I have messages.”
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If you enjoyed Sweet Young Thang but haven’t read the other Theta Alpha Gamma stories by Anne Tenino, spend some time with Brad and Sebastian in Frat Boy and Toppy. If you want more quality male/male romance and don’t mind a little religious twist, check out Covet Thy Neighbor, also from Riptide Publishing, about a Christian minister and an athiest tattoo artist who have to work through their own personal prejedices to get to the heart of a relationship that could give them everything they’ve been looking for.
Sweet Young Thang is…