Monday, December 9, 2013

REVIEW: The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes

The Backup Boyfriend The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a nice contemporary romance. I have no major criticisms. It just didn’t work for me.

What I Liked

+ the characters

Alec got off on the wrong foot with me in the beginning. I found him whiny, and I feared he was going to be a doormat. I perfectly understood he was grieving over the breakup of his two-year relationship, but I wanted Alec to express it in anger and bitterness and be all revenge-y. Thankfully, he quickly improved. He showed some anger and backbone (in his own mild mannered way), and he had Dylan to carry the revenge part for him. I came to like Alec more than I thought. I didn’t think I would.

I also liked Dylan. I liked his sense of justice and how he put his anger (as an angry person with issues) to good use, by helping Alec get back at his ex, Tyler. Dylan could have easily come off as emo because of his issues because, boy, he had a lot of them, the poor guy. I was amazed how well-adjusted he was.

My favorite character was Noah, Alec and Dylan’s flamboyant friend. There’s a lot of bad romances out there that can be majorly improved if they have a supporting character like Noah. Sometimes characters make stupid choices, and they need some sense slapped into them. Noah slapped some sense into Alec and Dylan. He was the best friend a main character in a love story could ever ask for.

I never cared for Tyler. I’m surprised and miffed that he’s going to be the main character in the next book of the series. However, I did appreciate that he didn’t turn out be to the Evil Ex the book introduced him to be, and that his new boyfriend Logan was nice and not the new bitchy jealous lover. One of the great things about the book was that it didn’t play into stereotypes.

+ the plot

Another great thing about the book was the plot. The book didn’t drag out the revenge plot line. The confrontation between the exes happened early in the story and on time for reader’s satisfaction. Once it played out, the book moved onto other things and didn’t go back to rehash it like a worn sock. From the start the plot put Dylan on front stage next to Alec, and it never once switched him out for Tyler. The plot was always about Alec and Dylan with Tyler in the dark background, and this is very rare for a romance with this kind of premise. Usually, the ex would be on the front stage and fighting our destined lovers for the spotlight, making a lot of drama. That didn’t happen in this book.

The plot had angst. How can there not be with the amount of issues Alec and Dylan had? But the angst was moderate and never became a sticking point for me. I really like how plot brought up heavy topics like HIV and sexual orientation confusion without making things preachy or depressing to read.

I do confess that it greatly helped that there was smut to make up for any dispiritment the angst caused. I was amazed that the book actually pulled off having a healthy dose of smut without sacrificing an inch of the plot or bogging down the pacing. Hot damn. It’s an award-winning feat.

What I Didn’t Like

Though the book had many good points (smut being the biggest, ha!), the book didn’t work for me. First reason: It felt emotionally subdued. My interest never wavered from the story, but I couldn’t seem to maintain an emotional connection with the story. For instance, when the characters were angry, their anger didn’t rise beyond the page.

Second reason: As much I wanted to wanted Alec and Dylan to be together, I wanted more for them to get over their issues (or at least some of them) before they got together. Alec just got off from a long-term relationship, and the last thing he needed was to be with someone, like Dylan, who had a fear of commitment and hopped from one bed to the next and, oh yeah, was straight. Not to mention that when Alec gets into any sort of a relationship he invests all of his heart in it, which makes one night stands poisonous to him.

I liked Dylan, bless his heart, but I didn’t want him to hurt Alec or be hurt himself. I didn’t like how they didn’t take Noah’s advice and keep their relationship platonic or dissolve it if they couldn’t. I hated how they kept their relationship undefined and uncertain up to the end because the men were afraid to face their fears and fully fight for their love. Their relationship was a fiery trainwreck waiting to happen.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen but the fact they would choose to walk on that incredibly emotionally dangerous path, no. I couldn’t accept it. I can’t accept characters who ignore the warning sign of falling rocks and keep on walking when there is an alternative path, a safer path, that will still allow them to get to their destination.

Third reason: There were two niggling inconsistencies. Inconsistency #1: Alec is a doctor for a clinic who treats the homeless, and Dylan is a mechanic at a busy autoshop and is the only mechanic at the autoshop. Both own their own businesses. Both lead busy careers, especially Dylan who told Alec right from the get-go how super busy he is. Yet, after the beginning of the story, they never once failed to make time for each other or needed to reschedule. How? It’s next to impossible, if not outright impossible! The conflict of their schedules and the discussions of making time for each other just suddenly stopped. When Alec had social events to go, Dylan quickly agreed to go to them without a thought of checking his schedule if he had prior appointments.

Inconsistency #2: Noah didn’t miss a beat warning both Alec and Dylan who were friends of his about how dangerous it would be for them to be together. Not a single beat. As soon as he found out about the true nature of their relationship, he visited them the very next morning. Yet, he never once warned Alec and Tyler, also a friend of Noah’s, about how the two didn’t suit each other? That he had a feeling they would break up sooner or later? It didn’t sound like Noah at all.

Fourth reason: I still don’t get how Tyler broke up with Alec. The book did explain why they broke up (and why they couldn’t work out as a couple), but it omitted from explaining what prompted the breakup. All the book said was that one day Tyler simply literally walked out on Alec, and that’s it. That didn’t satisfy me.

Fifth reason: It annoyed me how it never dawned on Alec that the reason Dylan was a commitment-phobe was because he had abandonment issues, which could be seen from a mile away. Come on, Alec. Work on your cluelessness. It’s the biggest reason why your relationship with Tyler failed.


I rate The Backup Boyfriend 2-stars for it was okay. It read differently from the usual mm-romance, but unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. I would recommend it for readers who like contemporary romance. But for readers like me who prefer paranormal romance, I say pass.

Goodreads | Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Really good review. I really liked Backup Boyfriend too. I liked that they kind of hinted that Dylan would like to be a father at the end cause I think it would be so cool if they were two dads. Since she's supposed to have a sequel, I hope we get to see some trouble maybe the ex can come back and try to split them up or something. (I just hope she kills off Noah, who I couldn't stand in the book) What do you think?


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