M/M Monday – Wallflower by Heidi Belleau

Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video, #2)

Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Mild Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Series: Rear Entrance Video #2
Published: 10/21/13
Reviewed by Anne
206 pages
Rob is a college art student.  He’s a very shy nerd and enjoys gaming online.  He’s gay (but still in the closet) and he has a crush on one of his roomates (who happens to be straight.)  Rob just started working at Rear Entrance Video, a store that rents porn movies and sells sex toys.  He also fantasizes about dressing up like a woman and he’s really not sure what to do with those thoughts.
Dylan is a confident, tall, and big man.  He’s in one of Rob’s classes, he frequents the video store and he’s also gay.
This story is about how Rob and Dylan meet and what happens between the two of them, but it is much more about Rob coming to terms with himself.  It was a story that grabbed me and I didn’t want to put it down.  It was very interesting to think through how Rob felt as he considered spending time as “Bobby” and what that would and wouldn’t mean to him.  It’s not an easy path for Rob to walk; some of that is due to other people in his life, and some of it is due to his own hang ups.
I enjoyed Rob/Bobby’s growth throughout the story.  His choices on how to deal with things led to a precarious situation which was scariest because I could see how easily it could be true, and not without the happy ending this story had.  That was a sad reality to consider.  It was really a high to see Rob come to terms with himself, though – totally worth the angst that came before it!
I do imagine that this story was a little sweeter than real life would be for someone in Rob’s situation.  Only one asshole picked on Bobby.  Of all his friends and relatives, only one had a hard time with him coming out.  Dylan and his parents were all very understanding of what Rob/Bobby was going though.  I think real life is probably a bit more painful.  That’s not a criticism of the story, but a nod to the fact that this is the kind of HEA/HFN the book has.
The biggest criticism I have of the story is that the romance between Rob and Dylan felt very much like insta-love once they had sex.  They went from hating each other to loving each other pretty darn quickly.  I also found Dylan’s nickname for Rob (Puny) to be annoying, but I know I’m being overly sensitive on that front.
I do have to give bonus points to any story with references to Twilight AND Flowers in the Attic.  It’s also got a well adjusted and happy adopted character with adoptive parents who are lovely – all this while acknowledging the challenges of being adopted.
Overall this was a good read.  It made me think about gender in ways I hadn’t before, and I enjoyed it.  The romance was a bit rushed, but it still worked for me.  I recommend this book and I think I’ve found a new author and new series on the m/m side of things.