Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 3/4/14
Rating: 3.5 stars
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He’s such a geek. Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger. He’s also the only geek with a girl. Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben. But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her.
Their friendship started by chance. Their love started with trust.
This is a sweet, silly smart-sexy story of first love and first lovers.
I was drawn to Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks because that is a great title. To my (happy) surprise, the story was set in the late 1990s, and the southern Missouri settings were close to home. There was a lot I liked about Burnouts, in addition to what I've mentioned.
Carrie, the main character, was not a sweet and innocent, perfect girl. It's not that I don't like the perfect girls, but with her fun-loving ways, Carrie and her friends felt more authentic to mine and my friends' experiences. I think a lot of what drove Carrie was her parents' indifference. No matter what she did, they didn't see her. And if they did, it was only to criticize. Carrie went out a lot, partied with friends, dated a much older guy, and had a bit of attitude. She was sad at times, and though she tried really hard to hide it, her friend and neighbor Ben always saw Carrie. Ben was such a nice guy! This boy was an easy character to embrace, especially when it came to Carrie. He was comforting and thoughtful, and expected little in return. I liked that he knew what he wanted out of his life, and did exactly what it took to get there.
Of course, I wanted Ben and Carrie together, though they were both dating others in the beginning. Burnouts is not a cheating story, though, so do not let that deter you. It's a coming-of-age story, and was much bigger than I anticipated. The story spans their senior year of high school, with a few flashbacks of their friendship as younger teens. With Ben's big plans for the future, the road for him and Carrie is not easy or predictable. There were some major shocks and heartbreak along the way, with the story landing them more than four years into the future. Some of their story hurt and frustrated me, but in the end I really liked it.
Okay, so I really did like this story, but felt a bit disconnected. Why? The narrative. The story is told
in third person, which doesn't actually bother me like it used to since I read so many adult novels. But
here, I felt as if I was being told a story instead of living it alongside the characters. The passage of time was quickly recapped, and some big moments in Carrie's and Ben's lives were rushed through. Having said that, I still liked Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks, and would recommend it to those looking for a expansive love story that was often bittersweet, but will leave you with a smile.
Carrie looked up at the sky, "No one seemed to care if I was crying, or wanted to be around me...'til you."
Ben held her hand and rubbed the back of it but her train of thought.
"When you're sweet to me, when you care...," she swallowed down the lump in her throat, "I know you see me, really see me. I get scared...cause you might not like what you see." She took a shaky breath to continue, "Then these tears, these stupid tears...it's like I've got a million of them stored up behind some floodgate. When you're nice, it just, opens."
Author Karen Gordon is giving one lucky winner a custom beach bag!
About the authorKaren Gordon was born and raised in the suburban paradise of St. Charles, MO, on the outskirts of St. Louis. She earned a B.S. in English from the University of Central Missouri (BS being the operative term) and a M.A. in Media Communications from Webster University, where she graduated in a hot pink mortar board because she didn’t like the school colors.
She currently resides in Olive Branch, MS (formerly Cow Pen) on the outskirts of Memphis, TN with her 2.5 super-smart kids, and an amazingly-funny, cute, geeky husband.
When not writing, she is a stay-at-home mom (chick in charge) and part-time teacher. Any down time is spent reading, catching up with friends and obsessively worrying about every little thing.
“Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks: a love story” is her debut novel. She is now frantically trying to recall her college years to write the sequel, “Popstars, Friends and Lovers.”
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