Title: Dumb Jock 3: Appearances Matter
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Self Published through Amazon
Characters: Todd Hoffman and Galen Caulfield
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Series
Todd Hoffman, age sixteen, doesn’t have an easy life. Not only does he live with his alcoholic mother in a rundown mobile home, but he’s also a bit of a social outcast at school. He doesn’t have the nice clothing, shoes, and car the other students have. He has only one really close friend, Shannon, but even she doesn’t understand him completely. He knows he can never confide in her his deepest secret. He can’t tell anyone,not even his favorite teacher.
But Todd finds a way to express his feelings when he learns about fan fiction. Being a gifted writer, Todd begins to write stories–gay stories–about another boy he’s secretly crushing on. He posts the stories on a fan fiction website.
When the object of Todd’s affection one day notices him and asks him out, Todd feels like he is suddenly living a dream, that his literary fantasy is become real. Soon, however, he realizes that reality and fantasy are two different things, and he has to determine if Galen, the high school soccer team captain, is the boy of his dreams or just another dumb jock.
Appearances Matter is the third book in the Dumb Jock series by author Jeff Erno. Like the previous stories, this book tells the tale of a high school geek and the high school jock. Mr. Erno makes his characters very easy to care about and it was not long before these two young men joined those ranks.
Todd, our geek, has slowly come to the realization that he is gay, but has no one to talk to about his discovery, which leaves him feeling alone at times. With an alcoholic mother Todd’s home life is hell and he wonders if he will ever find a way out. The anger he feels towards his situation and his mother is understandable and believable. Galen, the story’s jock, is the captain of the school’s soccer team and, unlike Todd, has known for some time that he is gay. Galen’s life is also different from Todd’s in other ways as Galen comes from a well to do family, yet there’s more to him than what others know. I have to say that in the beginning Galen was not someone I always liked. At times he came across a little self-centered, yet once more of his life was revealed it was easy to understand why he behaved the way he did.
The young men come together in a way that’s different from the other stories. While in the first two books the geek was ask to help the jock with a particular subject in school, in Appearances Matter, Galen runs into Todd after school and asks him out on a date, which was a nice change up and keeps the series fresh. I wish I could say that the men’s lives flow smoothly after this but it does not as they run into issues caused by outside forces, some of which have harsh consequences. Previous characters show up from time to time which also helps tie in the three books.
Like the other stories, Appearances Matter was a fast read. I could not put it down, wanting to see how the story would play out. I hope the author has plans to add more stories to this series as it is one I love to read over and over again.
Reviewed By: Lydia