A review by elliebelle_
Headstrong by Eden Finley


3.5 stars

A sweet friends-to-lovers sexual awakening story, with coming-of-age themes.

I do like the friends-to-lovers trope, and I also like a sexual awakening story. Books with both of these tropes work best for me when the "straight" MC slowly comes into an awareness of his attraction to the other MC and is the one to initiate everything.

I liked that since Whit was a virgin, and Rainn had never been with a man, they were both inexperienced and got to discover everything together.

It's a grumpy/sunshine pairing, and Whit is very sweet and endearing, but I also liked to see Rainn's internal monologue which demonstrated how nervous he was about getting things right. I think they go really well together and I totally buy it as a relationship.

I did find that Rainn was very slow to admit how unfulfilling his life was, working at the bookstore and generally just wallowing about not being able to play hockey professionally. There was good character development with him accepting that he might not play hockey professionally, but that doesn't mean he can't still work in the industry, but it did seem a bit rushed at the end and it bogged down the middle of the book.

The conflict between Whit and Rainn felt very authentic and I'm glad it wasn't anything to do with internalised homophobia or coming-out, which are often the source of conflicts in books with these tropes.

The narration by Tim Paige and Iggy Toma was good, though I found their voices quite similar and it didn't necessarily help me distinguish between the characters.

Sexual content: Explicit, not OTT. First times, dry-humping, handjobs, blowjobs, anal sex (strict top/bottom).